“You are so gifted in______!” We can fill in the blank ourselves, because most of us know what we are good at. In each and every one of us is something unique, something that makes us who we are. Some are good with their hands, some are good with their words, and some are gifted in the matters of the heart…and there are a few that seem to have more than a gift or two.
There are a few Bible passages that talk about gifts, spiritual gifts specifically. I mull over them once in awhile, because it seems that often the enemy uses those gifts as weapons against us.
“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” (Romans 12:6-8 NLT)
So, think about this…
If you have the gift of serving others, do you find yourself being taken advantage of more often than not?
If you have the gift to prophesy, are there people just hanging around who want to know what messages you have for them, from God?
If you are a teacher, are there days when you are tired of trying to teach the same things/concepts over and over again? No one seems to “get it”!
If you have the gift of finances and giving, there might be a lot of “needy” folk trying to be your friend.
If you are kind and encouraging, it can be exhausting at times, because no one seems to care enough to encourage you back.
Leadership can be a tricky one, as there are many who think that they have the gift of leadership, when in reality they just want to be validated or noticed, and being “the boss” is more fun than taking direction. And sometimes others will promote someone to leadership before they are ready.
So, in all of this, relationships can become difficult because often people are attracted to the gift in you, instead of you for who you are. The enemy can use these gifts in us to take us further away from our purpose as well. For example, if you use words, then words can also be used to hurt you. I think that the pain is deeper in those places where we are meant to shine, and where the enemy has thrown an arrow.
What area do you find yourself struggling in? Maybe that is the area you are meant to serve the body of Christ, and the enemy is just messing with that gift, keeping you distracted.
As the family of God, His church on earth, how are we building each other up in this area? Maybe it’s time to start switching things around a bit. If we see someone who is always encouraging and using words, we should give them encouragement. Those who are working tirelessly in the background, using their hands, probably would appreciate their lawn cut for once. Those who think that leadership is for them, maybe it would be good to try quiet service for awhile…see where they can truly shine, and hear the voice of Jesus clearly. (There was something that a pastor said recently about leadership, and it has stuck in my mind…”If you grab leadership before your time, even if it’s your gift, then you will spend most of your energy holding on to that position. When Jesus promotes you, then He will also orchestrate things to keep you there.” -KVM)
We all have gifts. If you don’t know what yours is, then spend some time asking Jesus. Ask your family and friends too. “How do you see me, and what do you think my gift is?” I think that is a pretty clear question…and you should be receptive to what they say. At times it’s hard to hear an honest answer.
I can only imagine what our church would look like if we all worked, as a community of believers, toward the same goal…a place of belonging, a family that loves Jesus and each other unconditionally. Using our gifts and talents to further the Kingdom of God, instead of our own agendas.
I know that I seem to be repeating myself when it comes to this topic. I guess I am getting tired of the isolation that so many of us retreat to. We put on our “Sunday face” every weekend, sing a few songs, listen to someone share the Word, and forget it the next day. We want to be part of something authentic but don’t know how to define it.
Maybe it’s time to start being honest with ourselves, and fight for what we know Jesus wants us to be part of. And that is…?
I think it looks like…honesty, love, pain, laughter, even the odd squabble, but something real. A family of Jesus followers, people who love and fear Him. People that, through their lives as a group, attract the world around them. “I want to know THAT JESUS who brings so much joy and authenticity to these believers”…
John 13:34-35 – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Take some time this next week encouraging someone in their abilities. This journey together isn’t a competition in who can be the best christian, it’s about loving the lost and bringing them to Jesus. As we work together, and build each other up, there will be nothing that can stop the supernatural force of love that will spread to those all around us.