Tag Archives: using our gifts

August 13; Using or Abusing

Ezekiel 14-16

God likened the Jews to a prostitute. He’d saved her, protected her, nurtured her, and lavished her with amazing gifts. People should have been able to see God’s beauty in her, and been drawn to Him because of what they saw. But that’s not what happened.

God reminded me today that I can be like the ancient Jews God described as vile and disgusting. He saved me like he’d saved her. He’s protected and blessed me, too. And He has lavished me with things no amount of money can buy. What am I doing with what He’s given me?

I would venture to say you are blessed, too. If you are a child of God through the blood of Jesus, He has gifted you with things, with abilities that should be drawing people to Him. What are you doing with what He’s given you?

I would ask us all today if we are using the blessings and abilities that God thoughtfully and intentionally gave each of us, for His glory? Or are we using those blessings for personal gain and personal glory? Are we using those gifts or abusing them? The prostitute God described in Ezekiel was abusing what God had given her.

One of the gifts God gave us is His Word, the Bible. For the past ten days I have been reading and re-reading the daily passages and letting God speak to me without going through a commentary or study lesson. Just me and God, and I have loved it so much!

I don’t know if you took the challenge ten days ago, but let me encourage us all to consider God’s Word as a personal gift to each of us. Let’s let God reveal what He wants to say to us, rather than always reading what God said to someone else – including me. It’s great to read about what God is teaching others. But I don’t believe it can take the place of listening to what God would say to you when you read His Word for yourself.

God may have gifted you musically, socially, intellectually, with gifts of teaching, hospitality, knowledge, faith, wisdom, etc. If you are His child He has gifted you with His precious Son, His Spirit within you, and His Word in Scripture. He has gifted you with the Gospel of Jesus.

Are we using God’s gifts, or abusing them? I think you know how I’m praying.

 

March 2; Come With Me

Numbers 8-10

Moses asked his brother-in-law to stay and help him maneuver the Jews through the wilderness. “You know where we should camp. You can be our eyes.” (10:31) This exchange between the two men has me thinking about a couple of things today.

First, I’m asking myself if Moses forgot there was a  pillar of cloud and fire – God Himself – leading the people; moving when God wanted them to move, stopping when God wanted them to stop? Why would Moses think Hobab could do a better job? Or did he?

I think Moses might have recognized that God gifts His people with various abilities. Maybe he saw in Hobab an experienced camper and explorer, and someone who could use his experience to help Moses in those areas.

I see a leader who trusted God first and foremost, and then gave opportunity for people to use their God-given abilities to accomplish God’s plan. Warren Wiersbe reminds us,”Hobab’s wisdom did not take the place of God’s leading.” (With The Word, Oliver-Nelson Publishing,; 1991; page 91) It merely gave Hobab the chance to be involved in what God was doing there in the wilderness.

The other thing I see, and that which convicts me this morning, is Moses’ invitation itself. He and the tribes of Israel were heading for the Promised Land. “Come with us,” he said to Hobab.

That reminds me that I need to always have that same invitation ready to share, too. I am going to heaven!

Come with me.

February 13; Busy Hands. Joyful Hearts.

Exodus 33:7-36:7

I’m part of the sewing ministry at our church. And I don’t sew!

Our little group has made draw-string bags for several agencies, including homeless shelters, and the foster care system. We’ve made and filled diaper bags for the Pregnancy Support Center. We’ve made blankets for veterans going on Honor Flight, and wheelchair bags for nursing homes and the VA. We’ve even made dolls and wordless books for mission trips. And those are only the things I can think of off the top of my head.

I don’t sew. But I can string a bag with the best of them. (well, after learning how NOT to prick myself with the safety-pin)

Our group consists of between eight and twenty women who gather at the church once a month to work on the latest project. The sewers plug in their machines along the wall. Those who iron set their station up next to the kitchen. The rest of us sit around round tables with our scissors or string. And we keep busy for about two hours.

But if you walked in on us, you might think you’ve walked into a party. There is always laughter as we sit and talk to each other like schoolgirls.

Sometimes you might walk in and think you walked in on a church service, if someone is sharing a hurt. There’ve been tears shed at sewing, too.

That’s what I’m kind of picturing here as I read about the people creating the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Did the women put their spinning wheels in a circle and enjoy some laughter as they spun their yarn? Did the embroiders sit together and discuss parenting, or share a recipe or two while they worked? If they were anything like our sewing ministry, they most likely found joy in doing the work of the Lord together.

I think God gave us a pretty good picture of a healthy church here in Exodus: Individuals using their gifts collectively to do the work God had for them to do.

I hope you are busy doing what God asks of you. But may I suggest you not do it alone? Gather with other like-minded people and work together. The job certainly is the focus. But the fellowship is a bonus blessing.

Busy hands. Joyful hearts. It’s a pretty great combination.

Genesis 46-47 There Is Work To Do

Pharaoh asked Joseph’s brothers, “What is your occupation?” They weren’t coming to Egypt for vacation. They were expected to work. Yes, they were Joseph’s family. But that didn’t entitle them to a free ride.

When Joseph was responsible for feeding the Egyptians during the seven year famine, he never once gave away any grain. If the people wanted to eat, they had to buy it, until they ended up selling everything, including their freedom. But I don’t read where any of them felt entitled to the grain Joseph held. They paid the going rate, and seemed glad for the food they bought

Now I could get political here in light of our welfare system, or our dear millennials and socialism. But I’m thinking God would have us Christians take a closer look at our churches instead.

How many people attend church for a worship experience, then leave unchanged, unchallenged, and unproductive? Oh, they feel good about going to church, and enjoy the message and praise team. But the only contribution they make to the ministry is an occasional check in the plate, a hearty “Amen,” and applause after the worship leader tells them to “clap for Jesus.”

That’s not what being a child of God is about. And that’s not what God intends for His Church.

What is your occupation? What are your gifts? What is your role in your church fellowship? If you aren’t pulling your weight, you have no claim on the blessings. If you aren’t busy serving the Lord, you are a drain on the church, and your church can’t be healthy. And neither can The Church.

Just like the early Jews in Egypt, we are expected to contribute, to use our gifts, to make disciples of every nation. There is work to do. There is work for YOU to do.

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.