Tag Archives: Spiritual gifts

November 28; For The Common Good

I Corinthians11:2-13:13

Not long ago I was part of a discussion concerning Spiritual gifts. Is teaching a Spiritual gift? Is music? What about sewing? Paul helped me understand.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God who works all of them in all men. (12:4-6)

The apostle gives us three categories of Spiritual influence: gifts, service, and working. Paul said we are blessed with all three, given by the same Spirit.

The list of Spiritual gifts is specific: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, interpretation of tongues, teaching, administration. (12:7-10, 28) These gifts can and should be used in service to God in the church. But they differ from God given abilities like music, carpentry, sewing, athletic, etc.

I believe Paul wants us to see beyond putting a gift or ability in a correct column. Look at verse 7:

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

Do you know what your Spiritual gifts are? There are online inventories that can help you identify them. I think we need to know the areas in which the Spirit has gifted each of us.

Have you identified your God-given abilities? I believe this is as important as knowing what your Spiritual gifts are. Ignoring them or denying them does not bring honor to to the Giver of those talents and abilities.

Then, knowing your gifts and abilities, how are you using them for the common good of your church fellowship? Paul talks about a healthy body with all the working parts. Is your fellowship crippled because you, as a toe, think what God has given you is not really all that important? Is your church trying to operate without an elbow or an ear because you would rather be an eye?

If you are a Christian, God has given you a Spiritual gift. If you are a human, God has given you certain talents and abilities. And Paul and I believe God has given you those things for you to use for the common good, the furthering of the Gospel in and through your church fellowship.

It’s not a matter of “if” you have gifts and abilities. It’s a matter of what you are going to do with your gifts and abilities for Jesus’ sake and for His glory.

March 28; Focus on the Future.

Joshua 13-15

Joshua was 85 years old, and felt as strong as he’d felt decades earlier. He was ready to take the Promise Land, to lead the Israelites into battle after battle, and to finally realize what God had promised them centuries earlier. The man doesn’t seem to be slowing down in his old age.

It reminds me that all of us have things to do in Christ’s kingdom. But sometimes we old folks get stuck in the past. We remember the good old days and lament their passing. We know things were better back then, we had more energy back then, people listened to us better back then. Some of us get a bit smug thinking we’ve done our time, now it’s someone else’s turn. We hit a certain age and think it’s time to retire.

I’m sure the Israelites were glad Joshua didn’t have that attitude.

Joshua was an old dude. But he wasn’t wasting time looking back. And neither should we.  Whether you are an octogenarian like Joshua, or a busy mom in her thirties; newly retired, or someone just beginning a career, God has something for you to do. You are a vital part in His kingdom, a vessel through which He wants to reveal Himself.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to look back. In fact, I believe we’re missing something if we don’t. But I think God would have us consider our focus. If our focus is on the past, how can we move ahead? If we focus on the past, we will miss what God has in store for us today.

What ministry would God have you undertake? What has He gifted you with that He wants you to use for His glory? You might not be able to teach pre-schoolers anymore. But I bet you can use the phone to be an encourager to someone.  You might not be able to show hospitality to strangers as easily as you used to, but I imagine you can sing in the choir, or fold the bulletins, or sew on a button. You can do ANYTHING God has gifted you to do.

Let’s learn something from Joshua who didn’t think being 85 was any reason to slow down. Let’s find out what God would have us do for His glory. Forget the aches in our joints, or the shaking of our hands. Forget using our jobs and our families as excuses for sitting back. As God wants to move ahead in 2019 let’s figure out what we can do.

And then let’s do it!

March 5; God Gives

Numbers 16-18

All the Levites had jobs to do in caring for the Tabernacle. But only Aaron and sons were priests. Yes, priests were the most visible, their duties often performed before thousands, while the Levites got stuck packing up the spoons. And, as often happens, jealousy broke out like a plague.

As I read this portion of Scripture, I’m reminded God has jobs for all of us to do in caring for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some are preachers and song leaders who fulfill their responsibilities before thousands, and some change diapers in the nursery, pull weeds on the church property, and wash spoons after the church’s covered dish dinner.

As children of God, He gives us all tasks He wants us to do. Can we do it without jealousy? Read these chapters in Numbers about what happened to the Levites who complained.

I’m also reminded that when God gives us a job to do, He also gives us what we need to get it done. I love how God provided for the day-to-day needs of the priests, as recorded in chapter 18.

I also love how Scripture tells us how God gives gifts to His children to be used for His work. I Corinthians 12 tells us the using of our God-given gifts is like a healthy body with fingers AND toes, ears AND eyes. When God gives us a job to do, He gives us exactly what we need to do it.

But the thing I love most as described here in Numbers is this: God gives us HIMSELF! The priests and Levites were not to receive any real estate in the Promised Land. Why?

I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites. (18:20b)

Let that sink in. God is our inheritance. The Creator. The Sustainer of life. The Savior of mankind. God is all mine! (and yours if you know Him).

And God is all I need to do what He asks me to do, to be the woman He intends for me to be. God gives.

And gives.

I Samuel 28-31; Dividing the Spoils

David and 600 of his men went and attacked the Amalekites who had raided their homes, and taken their families and property. 200 weary soldiers stayed back and guarded the supplies, even though their own families had been captured as well.

David successfully defeated the enemy and rescued the women, children, livestock, and even took plunder from the Amalekites. The 200 men who didn’t fight in the battle were reunited with their families, along with the 600 who did fight.

Now, the 600 men who had gone to war thought they should be able to divide the spoils among themselves. After all, they’d put their lives on the line, they did the dirty work. It seemed right that they should be rewarded more than the men who’d stayed behind.

David didn’t agree. In essence he said, “God gave us all the victory. He’s the one who protected us and handed over our enemies to us. Everyone will share the blessings equally.”

You might be a pastor who puts himself out there every week after hours of study and prayer. Or you might be a song leader, a musician, an elder whose face everyone recognizes.

Or not.

Maybe you’ve never taught Sunday School, or sung in the choir. Maybe you’ve never actually prayed the sinners prayer with anyone, or gone on a missions trip.

Should God give a bit more blessing to one group than another?

If your ministry is public and demanding, do you think you deserve a bit more blessing than those who sit in the pews every Sunday and seemingly ride your coattails? Beware of that attitude.

God would have us know that it isn’t about the ministry. It’s about obedience. Some are called to be obedient to preach and teach, while others are called to encourage others and show hospitality. Some people’s gifts are more easily seen, but they certainly are not more important than the ones whose gifts are used behind the scenes.

I don’t know what spiritual gifts you have. I don’t know what talents you possess. But I know God is calling you to do something to further His kingdom, to fight or support the fight against the enemy.

Let’s remember we are all a part of the same army. As Christians, we are equally blessed because we have all received Jesus the exact same way. Jesus didn’t die more painfully for some than He did for others. He died once and for all.

And He wants to lavish all of His children with blessings beyond what we ask or think.

Be faithful to use what you have been given, and don’t compare yourself with anyone else. If you have confessed your sins, you deserve what Jesus died to give you.

Himself.

 

 

November 8 – Bridesmaids Unprepared

Matthew 25

How are you getting ready for Jesus’ return? Have you prepared your heart, used the gifts and abilities He gave you in service to Him, showed His love to others in tangible ways? Jesus is coming again. And whether we meet Him in the air at the sound of the trumpet, or experience death first, we will stand before Him on that day!

My prayer is that, most importantly, God has your heart. I pray that you have asked Him to forgive your sin, to be your Savior. Then I pray that you have nurtured the gifts He’s given you, and used them to win lost souls for His kingdom.

Are you a faithful servant? Do you put His love in action by caring for all people, giving of your time and resources?

I hope you’re not like five of the bridesmaids we read about today who did just enough to be able to say they were part of the company. But that wasn’t enough. And they couldn’t depend on anyone else to get them ready to meet the Bridegroom.

And neither can we. Our relationship with God is personal. Our accountability to Him is dependent on our own actions.

I pray you will not put off getting right with God. When the Bridegroom comes, and He will, it will be too late to put oil in that lamp.