Sweat Equity

Yes, it was that bad! Several years ago our son, Paul, bought this '66 Olds as a project car. He disassembled, gutted, cleaned, fixed, rebuilt, and restored the car. It was hard work! Click here if you want to see the finished product. It will surprise you!Speaking of hard work, this month Harvard Business Review published an interview with 4-time Grammy winner Annie Lennox. It drips with the perspiration of tireless effort. When asked how she gets ready, she replied: "Preparation is everything. You need to rehearse . . . . It has to be flawless." When asked about her creativity, she replied: "You have to have confidence, and you get that by just doing it, doing it a lot."1

Sweat equity is the term we employ for the payoff that comes with hard work.  We understand that concept when it comes to houses we remodel, bodies we tone, automobiles we restore, and careers we enhance.

But do we understand the same principle holds true in our service for Christ? Grace is free. That is the beauty of the gospel. Amazingly, God also gives us the power to serve him. That being said, he calls us to work hard with the gifts he has given us. Just read the words of Paul and you can see why his shirt was soaked in sweat. To the church in Rome he wrote, Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. (Romans 12:11 ESV). To Timothy, his young protege, he urged, For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands (2 Timothy 1:6). About his own service he penned these words, Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad . . . (Philippians 2:17 ESV)

I understand sweat equity. Shannan and I have remodeled two homes. But how do I improve my service for Christ when it comes to building up the house of God? How do I get better at using the spiritual gift he has given me?

  • Get an assessment: A spiritual gifts assessment can help you to understand your gift. Click here to get started with an introductory spiritual gifts test.
  • Get busy:Just do it will not guarantee improvement, but not doing anything will certainly limit effectiveness. Find a place to use your gift and get busy.
  • Get a gift mentor:Who do you know who has the same gift as you, but is better in some ways? Learn from them. I listen and learn from other teachers, writers, and communicators. They help me improve.
  • Get a good book on spiritual gifts: Click herefor a link to several you can examine.
  • Get constructive feedback:Vince Lombardi put it well, "Feedback is the breakfast of champions." Ask a friend to critique the way you use your gift. Learn from it.

Let's build some sweat equity for the kingdom. It pays eternal dividends.

STAY FOCUSED TODAY: Take action on at least one of the suggestions above!


1"Life's Work" in Harvard Business Review, October 2010, page 152.