Day 3: Gifts
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
1Peter 4:10 NLT
I was walking in my neighborhood and as I turned around to head home, something in the road grabbed my attention. It was a strip of nails used in a nail gun. I passed by and felt the Spirit prompt me to pick it up. I didn’t hesitate because it could have caused damage to someone’s tire, and it was litter. Off I continued on my walk, nails in hand.
About five steps later I look down and lying on the side of the road was a package of flat batteries. As I picked it up I realized there was still one battery in the discarded package. That’s a shame, I thought. Poor battery lying in the dirt not getting to do what it was made to do.
I know, it seemed silly to me too. But I couldn’t help thinking as I continued my journey home how out of place my found treasures were. Two useful items not being used.
The gifts God gives us are much like these two items when we refuse to share them. Like something discarded or lost destined for no use. Think about it. The nails I found could have been holding the rafters up on a new house and the battery could have been powering a flashlight or hearing aid. Sadly, their potential to do something greater was lost because they were not used or shared.
God did not give us gifts to hide or go unused. He meant them for sharing. Sharing so others can come to know His love.
Years ago, He began calling me to lead others in intercessory prayer, first through a ministry called Moms In Prayer International (MIPI). This ministry encourages and empowers moms to pray for their children and schools on a weekly basis.
When He began to press, I began to search out someone else to start a group and lead. My search was unsuccessful, so I reluctantly began a group and led. It was truly a step of faith. Preparing each week. Asking, listening for the Scripture to pray over our children their schools and teachers. But I grew in the grace.
A few years later, I began feeling pressed to start a group to pray specifically for the church I was attending, its direction and leadership. Pretty soon, I was leading two prayer groups. Then organizing prayer for our pastor through a monthly prayer journal. And then praying for worship on a weekly basis.
Intercessory prayer has been a call on my life and a gift I believe anyone can share. The prayer ministries listed above have changed over the last couple of years, to make room for me to use a different gift He’s been growing in me. Writing and teaching in His name.
Taking the first step to use a spiritual gift can be intimidating. But I can tell you there is no greater joy. And in hindsight, because of His faithfulness, each step which looked like jumping off a cliff, was really more like stepping off a curb.
We give gifts to others when they are born, in remembrance of their birth days, and for once in a lifetime events, like graduation or marriage. The gifts we give fall into two major categories: something they can use and enjoy or something to commemorate the special day.
Think about the gifts you have received. What were your favorite gifts? Why?
Did you ever receive a gift you didn’t use? never opened? Why didn’t you use it?
When we are born again as Believers in Christ Jesus (John 3:3-7), we receive spiritual gifts. Just like being born with natural gifts and talents, in our spiritual birth we are blessed with spiritual gifts. These gifts are from God and have a purpose. The purpose fulfilled when they are shared.
Read 1Corinthians 12:4-7
What are these various gifts for?
Who empowers the gift?
What do the gifts reveal? or make known?
We are called to share our spiritual gifts for the common good of the Church. God is the power behind the gifts He gives and are to be used according to His direction.
These spiritual gifts are a “manifestation of the Spirit” (ESV, NKJV, NASB, NIV). Manifestation being a perceptible, outward, or visible expression of something (Merriam-Webster). When Believers use their spiritual gifts for the good of the Church, the presence of the Holy Spirit can be seen. They reveal God in ways we could not on our own.
Read Romans 12:4-8
What metaphor does God use to explain the reason for different gifts?
God tells us every Believer is a member of something greater, like a body part: a hand, eye, foot. Each integral and equipped for a specific work, contribution, service. We are called to use our spiritual gifts so the body of Christ can function properly.
Regifting is something we can do with physical gifts we don’t particularly like. But spiritual gifts cannot be passed on to someone else. The ones you’ve been given are specific for you. Given by grace for you to use. We share our gifts by giving our time, energy, and resources for others.
SPIRITUAL GIFTS Ministries or abilities that the Holy Spirit gives to Christians for the edification of the Church.
─The Lexham Bible Dictionary
According to Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary, edification is “a Pauline metaphor meaning spiritual and moral growth among believers.” The sharing of our God-given gifts is vital to the growth of the church, for its purity and sanctification. We have natural gifts we can share too, but only those gifts used under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit build up the church body in ways which are eternally beneficial.
As with all gifts, we have a choice whether to open them up and use them or not. Spiritual gifts are a grace we grow in. When we step out in faith and exercise the gifts we’ve been given, we make a difference in the church and in our own lives. We were created for good works which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). And on our spiritual birth day He blesses us with gifts we need to fulfill our purpose.
Don’t miss out on the joy of sharing your gifts. And don’t let the church be lacking because of your decision to let them lie dormant. Using your God-given gifts can help you remember your spiritual birth, the love He has for you, and the grace He’s given you.
Talk It Out
Talk it over with yourself:
What spiritual gifts have you been given? Do you know what they are? Do you use them? Why or why not?
Consider what the church may be lacking because you keep your gifts to yourself. What could your gifts contribute to the growth of your church by sharing them?
Talk it over with God:
Ask God to reveal the spiritual gifts He’s blessed you with and how He wants you to use them. Ask Him for the faith to step out in obedience to share your gifts with your faith community.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV
Work Out Your Faith
Today, bless the church in your community by sharing your time to offer the gift of intercessory prayer.
Ask the Holy Spirit to pick a church in your community for you to pray for. Go to the church and take a prayer walk around the building or parking lot. Pray for the week’s worship service. Intercede for those He will bring to have hearts prepared for worship.
Reflection Scripture: Journal
Click here for today’s guided Journal Page – Share Day 3. Follow the directions.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Hebrews 13:16 ESV