Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Know your spiritual gifts


It is possible that one of the greatest untapped resources on the planet is the wealth of spiritual gifts that have been given to followers of Jesus Christ. Many believers simply do not know what has been given, why it has been given, and how to use the gift. Peter answers those questions succinctly in one sentence: “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Let’s address the questions by looking at this text.

Question 1: How many believers have a spiritual gift? Each one. Every single person who is born again has a spiritual gift. Paul said, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” You cannot say something like, “Not me, man. I was looking the other way when God handed out the gifts.” Fact is, you had nothing to do with it.

Question 2: How does each believer get a spiritual gift? He receives it. It is a gift, not a wage or a tip or anything else earned. God gives it, which means God decides what He wants you to have. “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.”

Question 3: What is the purpose of the gift you and I have received? It is for others. People at a dinner party were puzzled when the host asked each one of them to hold out their arms at the table. The host then strapped two-foot-long planks onto each guest’s arms. There was a fork attached to the end of each plank. The blessing was spoken and the people were invited to begin eating. But there was no way to eat. They could not get the fork to their own mouths because of the planks. They were frustrated at first, but then one of them started laughing as she realized that though they could not feed themselves, they were each uniquely “gifted” to feed the person across the table from them. What they had been given was not for them, but for others.

Question 4: How do I know what gift I have received? This is where we need to read the Bible, pray, and even experiment a little. The fact is, there are several different spiritual gifts; they are part of the “manifold grace of God.” That’s one of the things that make the church so exciting and so frustrating at the same time. It can be frustrating because everybody is not just like you and does not see things the way you see them. It is exciting for the very same reason. That’s why Paul said, “What if the whole body were an eye? How would we hear? Or what if the whole body were an ear? How would we smell?” Each gift is different and all of them are needed.

Some people attend a church service and all they can see is a need for more organization and leadership when it comes to meals for people, baby showers, work days and mission trips. Others come in and see a need for people to be taught the Bible. Others believe the church needs more resources so it can better impact the world with the Gospel. Others say, “I think I could help this church just by coming early and setting up chairs or sweeping the floor.” Each believer is uniquely gifted by God to help build and serve his church.

Are you using your spiritual gift to serve the body of Christ?

   J. Mark Fox is the author of “A Faithful Man,” his latest book, and the pastor of Antioch Community Church on Power Line Road in Elon. You can find all of Mark’s books on Amazon or other online sellers. Email Mark at markfox@antiochchurch.cc  

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