Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10)
Our discussion of the discipline of service warrants spending some time on spiritual gifts. We won’t pursue an extensive discussion of spiritual gifts. Rather, we will highlight the strong linkage between service and spiritual gifts and pose two essential questions.
Linkage Between Service and Spiritual Gifts:
If you are a believer, God has given you spiritual gifts. The Biblical admonition to use our spiritual gifts for service is very clear – see the 1st Peter 4:10 passage above. For a more detailed consideration, you can also read 1 Corinthians 12. What is clear, is that God has not left the development of his church up to chance. He has provided the resources required and mandated that many of these gifts should be demonstrated in community. Every believer has an important part to play but the body suffers when the members don’t understand their roles as servants.
There are, therefore, two essential questions for you to answer:
1. Do you know your spiritual gifts?
2. Do you use these gifts for service?
If you don’t know your spiritual gifts, I would encourage you to prayerfully consider this issue. Discuss this with believers you trust. There are now many programs targeted at helping believers determine their gifts, including free online spiritual gifts tests. Sometimes though the best feedback you can get are from the people who know you well.
If you do know your spiritual gift(s) you have a responsibility to use the gift(s) as an act of service to Body.
Let me end with a note of caution. Use of your spiritual gifts in service should not serve as an excuse to not provide service in areas where you are not “gifted”. The local church already suffers from the 80/20 Rule, which says that 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work. We need more acts of service, not less.
What do you think?
April 9, 2014 at 1:57 pm
Really good reading…
I’m mindful that it is in the practice of our gifts that we will best learn to use it and a gift unopened is nothing short of a tragedy.
I have this challenge where I feel I can get caught up in activities in an attempt to demonstrate a servant’s heart but then focus efforts on things that can God doesn’t necessarily want me to get wrapped up in. Not sure if I’m alone with this challenge.
I do know though that the maturity of the individual believer and inter alia, the advancement of the church (global or local) hinges on each part doing its part and working together with the other parts for the common good of the Body. It is clear that we are not ‘spiritual islands’ – the value of community is highlighted strongly here.
April 9, 2014 at 2:09 pm
Shoot! That is EXACTLY what I was doing … saying to myself I am not gifted in this or that so I am not getting involved in this or that. And that settled the matter for me.
Now I feel called out!
More later on the other points. I have to pick up my son …
April 9, 2014 at 3:10 pm
I know this discussion is not focused on spiritual gifts but it does ask us to prayerfully consider what they are, if we don’t know what they are.
I have taken the online test and it confirmed what I already know. The truth is that I have had these ‘gifts’ from my youth before I became a Believer. Isn’t really innate talents and abilities enhanced as gifts when one becomes a Believer?
My mom, a simple lady has been a Believer since she was 16 years old, she is now in her 60’s. Recently, I asked her what her gift was. And Lo and Behold she did not know what it was! But knowing my mother very well, how she cares and serves others, even strangers ‘to a fault’, I reasoned she has the gift of service. The point I making is that she does not know what her gift is but she is living it out spectacularly!
Therefore is it so important to know your gift?
I would also caution against pride and this gifting matter. I have seen in myself and others the emergence of pride when one gets ‘caught up’ in the ‘bells and whistles’ of a perceived spiritual gift.
I would suggest that the first step to discerning your gift and to have the right attitude about it is to ‘Just Be.’ The rest will follow …