Tag Archives: talents

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.

Feb 10 – Let Me Do That

Exodus 33-35

Did you think of your church fellowship when you read these chapters in Exodus today? God moved people to action. And they obeyed. Some gave of their material possessions. Some gave of their time as they used their talents for sewing, building, carving, designing…

The Tabernacle would be made by hundreds of people, working together, following God’s leading. This is what being a church is all about.

There is a dear woman in my church who loves to sew. God laid on her heart to start a sewing ministry, not knowing how many women would even be interested. But she was faithful. Once a month from five to twenty five women gather in the fellowship hall. Some bring sewing machines, some have scissors, some bring irons. They have made Salvation Dolls and sent them to a missionary who uses them to introduce children in Africa to their Savior. They made draw string bags to put in the boxes for Operation Christmas Child. They’ve made walker bags for a nursing home in our neighborhood. They’ve made neck pillows, bookmarks, snuggle pillows for a children’s hospital, blankets, and they’ve only been meeting for about a year.

My sister feels led to minister to elderly women in her church who live alone. (Happy Birthday, Peggy. I love you!) Through her church’s visitation ministry, she visits about five women every month, takes them to the grocery if they need, takes them to lunch or the doctor, prays with them, or just sits with them. She sends them cards, and calls them just to say hi.

There is a church where a few retired men got together and formed a committee that will pick up used appliances, clean and repair them, then give them to needy people in the community. They fix furniture for the same reason.

I’ve shared that my church provides a free meal every month for the community. There are several people in this tiny fellowship who organize, cook, serve, and clean up month after month for about 100 people who enjoy a hot meal with all the fixins.

Some people are called by God to teach Sunday School, work in the nursery, mow the church lawn, cook, clean, sing, work with Youth groups, give financially.

And when these people follow God’s lead, great things can happen for our churches in Jesus’ name.

Do you feel God’s call to some ministry in your church? Don’t depend on someone else to obey your call. Step right up and say, “Let me do that!”

October 31

Mark 13:24-37; Matthew 24:29-51, 25:1-20; Luke 21:25-38, 19:11-27

I was ready to buy a new car. I had driven mine for about five years and was shopping for another when my brother-in-law, Ron, said he’d like to buy my old one. We agreed on a price and I turned over the keys. He got into the car and immediately adjusted the steering wheel. I said, “I didn’t know that did that.” Five years I drove my car with the steering wheel on my lap and never pressed the button that would raise it. Needless to say, my brother-in-law loved teasing me about that.

About five years later I was ready for a new car and once again Ron wanted to buy my old one. And once again, after agreeing on a price I gave him the keys. He got in and sat in the driver’s seat and started playing with the buttons. He asked, “Do you use the fog lights much?” I looked at him and sheepishly said, “I didn’t know I had fog lights.” Let’s just say he will never let me forget that one.

How foolish am I?

Our Creator God has give us so much. Are we using his gifts to the fullest? As Christians. he has given us life and love, grace, forgiveness, hope. What are we doing with those precious things? Do we use what we have for the purpose they were given – to lead lost souls to Jesus?

All that we have materially and spiritually we have for one reason only. To. Use. Them.

Jesus tells us in the parable of the talents that we who have been given much will be given even more if we are faithful with what we have. And what we have will be taken away if we refuse to use it for God’s glory. How foolish would that be?

Father, I pray that you will find us faithful. May we be grateful for the many blessings you shower upon us. And may we use each one to reach out to lost souls and draw them to you. May we use what you have given us and produce a crop that is pleasing to you.

September 25

I Chronicles 9:1-34; Nehemiah 12:1-47

Jerusalem was rebuilt and the repair of the wall completed. The priests were ready to begin ministering and the gatekeepers were assigned their responsibilities. But first the people wanted to praise God.

I have a degree in music education. The beginning of my teaching career found me teaching children how to play musical instruments and later, how to use their voices to make music. I have such good memories of elementary bands and middle school choirs.

So when I read about the two choirs that had a part in the celebration recorded in Nehemiah, it got my attention. I certainly would have been a part of that had I been there! I find it a great joy to be a part of a group of people who work together to turn notes on a page into harmonies and beautiful music.

While practicing my clarinet or singing an alto part I hear only that particular progression of notes. Sometimes it’s boring and repetitive and I can’t make out the melody. Sometimes getting the rhythm correct or the fingerings running smoothly is tedious.

But when I sit among other individuals who have also spent time on their individual parts, together the result is beautiful. It all makes sense when everyone is playing or singing their part.

Another look at the Church? I think so. I am wondering how beautiful the music of your local fellowship sounds? Are you a group of people who individually spend time in God’s Word, who know and use their spiritual gifts in the fellowship and in the community? Are there those who prepare lessons from the Bible, who change diapers in the nursery, who sing in the choir and who plow snow in the winter? Are there prayer warriors and sacrificial financial supporters, encouragers and counselors? 

One person can’t do it all. But working together produces something beautiful, music to our Lord’s ears. What part do you play? Are you practicing to perfect that piece of music set before you? Your part might not seem all that important to you. A third clarinet player or a percussionist playing a triangle might not think they have an exciting or important position in the band. But take away that part and the whole piece is effected. Something is missing. The music just doesn’t sound like it should. If everyone only played the melody all the time the music would be hollow. It’s the harmonies that make the music work!

My prayer is that you will take hold of whatever part of your local church you are able. And that you will perfect that part of the ministry. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your part isn’t important or necessary. You are part of a great work. May the result produce music that pleases our Lord.

June 22

2 Kings 11:4-21, 12:1-16, 10:28-36, 13:1-3, 22-23; 2 Chronicles 23:1-21, 24:1-16

I used to be a good clarinet player. I use the past tense because I haven’t played in years. Someone has said if you don’t use it, you lose it. I know that’s true.

As I was reading our scripture this morning, Jehoiada’s words to the Levites reminded me of my clarinet. The priest certainly wasn’t talking about music but God seemed to bring it to my mind as I read, “… all the other men are to guard what the Lord has assigned to them.” (2 Chronicles 23:6)

Now I know we need to be careful about pulling a scripture out of context. But I think God is convicting me for not guarding what he assigned to me. He gave me musical ability and I’ve squandered that away.

Can you identify the gifts and talents God blessed you with? Maybe God is asking you to guard them. Use them for his glory. He gave those things to us for a reason. Don’t miss out on the blessings that come from using them in service to our Lord.

Guard what the Lord has assigned to you.