Thursday, September 12, 2013

Using our gifts

Romans 12:6-8
Colossians 3:12-17
Joseph using his gift in an unexpected way
"Do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ."
If you could form a list of every talent and gift you have, how long would it be? Some gifts are meant to be used as much as possible, and some are meant to be used only for a season of life or only to a limited extent.
I think for instance of the limitations of the gift of healing in my life. I have enough to administer basic first aid to my children's bumps and bruises, to kiss them and pray for their healing, to believe that this is enough and they will experience a certain additional degree of healing because of my prayer and care for them. Yet I would not say that the Lord has given me a clear gift of healing beyond that nor that I should seek to develop it further through prayer, practice, or education. It would actually not be "to the glory of God" for me to do so. What I have been given, however, it is my responsibility to use in a way that honors the Lord and builds up the Body of Christ. I can't look through a list of gifts, mark off all the "important" ones that I don't have, and consider myself off the hook. However small or great they each are, I need to use them in a way that fits God's desires for me, that encourages those around me, that is clearly a reflection of His love for me and my love for Him.
There are several lists in the New Testament of spiritual gifts and many more talents that could be added as gifts from the Lord even if they aren't officially "gifts of the Holy Spirit". Far more important than the gift itself is whether we use it to honor the Lord. Just as Paul tells those with the gift of mercy to exercise it cheerfully and those with the gift of leadership to exercise it diligently, we can apply that principle to every talent. May those with the gift of a green thumb use it to share God's love with others in the flowers and vegetables they grow. May those with the gift of enthusiasm use it to motivate others to follow Christ. May those with the gift of intercession use it generously to pray for those unable to pray for themselves or who need more than they can currently give. What gifts have you been blessed with by the Lord? How are you/how should you use them according to His will?

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