Category: Using Your Gifts

Worthless Great Gifts

In Japan when you give someone a gift you call your gift “tsumaranai mono” which means a trivial, boring or worthless thing. Our culture would find it strange to give someone a gift you are calling worthless, in their culture they are trying to be humble and in essence are saying you deserve much more than I am giving you. Many of the worthless gifts I received in Japan were actual very nice gifts.

Towards the end of his first letter Peter writes, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10). Thinking of the verse we get this neat picture of God giving us gifts that we use to serve others which become an expression of God’s grace to the person we serve. That God would give us gifts by itself is amazing, that He would give us these gifts so that we could display His grace to others in us is far beyond what we deserve.

Our thoughts regarding these gifts that God gives us could easily go to, “Wow they must be something really extra-ordinary in order to display God’s grace.” However I would encourage you to read the verses surrounding this verse. You will find extra-ordinary gifts like praying, loving deeply, hospitality, speaking God’s Word, and serving. These are things that we all are equipped as Christians to do and we all can do right now, there is no missing ingredient we need in our walk with Christ in order to do these things. Sadly, we might be prone to label these gifts as trivial or boring yet God has a very different view of them.

May our Heavenly Father help us to view the gifts He has given us not as tsumaranai mono, but as priceless and when offered sincerely God is able to come alongside the gift in the power of His Spirit and display the grace of our Father in a wonderful way.

  • Steve Selle

 

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Gift of Faith

Before I say too much about spiritual gifts, I want to give you some personal context; my viewpoint is beginning to be reshaped.  As I’m getting older the theological arguments that once intimidated me are beginning to fade.  In the suffering and joy of parenting and pastoring, I am changing.  I have more moments where I long for simplicity rather than complexed explanations.  I do appreciate the clarity of truth.  But the clearer my theology becomes, the more I appreciate the simplicity of mystery.  I can confidently say, “I don’t really know how God works.”  And outbursts like, “God! really?” are a part of my life.

I once thought that in order to function in my spiritual gift, I had to know what it is.  Because wise people said it, and because it seems to make perfect human sense, I spent time worrying about what my gift was.  As if once I crack the code, I’ll know what to do.  The odd thing is, I’ve been a believer for over 40 years and pastor for almost half of that and I’m not really sure I know what my gift is.  Yet, I think the Lord is using me more today than ever before.  Not because I’ve got the “gift code” figured out, but because God is great and I need him.

Friends, this season of life for me is not a reflection of futility, but of faith.  I spend less time trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do and more time fighting to trust the Lord.  To be transparent, as I see God more clearly, I also see people and feel the effects of sin more clearly as well.  I need faith.  I need Him.  By grace, I trust God more today than I did 10 years ago and I love better too. Maybe he is developing in all of us, the gift of faith.

I’m not sure what my gift is.  I’m ok with you not knowing what your gift is.  But I want to encourage you to move forward in your day by faith and love the people around you.

“God can be trusted to work his will in ways both ordinary and extraordinary, and he does not leave it to us to decide which is which. Let’s not, in other words, be timid where the Spirit has made us courageous. He is gifting us for the powerful work of making Jesus look big in the church and in the world.”

For more on the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, I recommend Supernatural Power for Everyday People by Jared Wilson

  • Jeff Pierce

Gifted

If you’re like me you’ve often felt inadequate without the resources and information needed for the day’s challenges. Sometimes we continue the search when we really need to just take a good long look at the data that’s already there and use it. You might be suffering from analysis paralysis. You already know what you need to know.

“He did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32

Paul is telling us that the Father’s grace is operating to give each and every one of His elect everything they need. “All things”. What are the things included in the “all things” package? Let’s start with your election from before the foundations of the earth and His effective calling of you to Himself. No you didn’t see that coming, but nevertheless His gracious love planned it. Secondly, our justification purchased by the Father who “did not spare his own Son”. Then because the Son in perfect and complete loving obedience to the Father, bore our sin at the cross we have been adopted as sons of the Father Who is working all the events of your life in a gracious process of progressive sanctification bringing you into the likeness of His Son until finally we will stand complete before Him in glorification.

Still feel inadequate? Still searching for the courage to walk in this world? Still wondering if there’s a place to stand in full confidence? Rest in this. “He (the Eternal Father) did not spare” (not one thing was withheld in His judgement) but gave “his own Son” for you so that you can rest in the fact that He’s graciously giving “all things” to you that is everything and anything necessary the Father says is needed to bring you home. Take that as a guarantee of grace. Slow down and return to the argument Paul is laying down here in Romans 8:32. Don’t jump ahead. Stop trying to build a case with more data but start where it all begins. With the greatest gift given from which all others are given. The Son given for us and to us. If the Father has already given that much how can we not be confident that we are already in possession of the grace to face anything?

  • David Ortiz

Using Our Gifts to Edify

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” I Peter 4:10.

As believers, we are to live with Christ’s imminent return in full view. We are called to be vigilant, watchful, and always ready for the Lord when He comes. For us, Jesus should not return as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2), but our lamps should be ready, filled with oil, matches in hand, and prepared to join the parade of our Bridegroom (Matthew 25:6, 7). While we await His return, the Apostle Peter admonishes us to be serious and watchful in prayers with a goal of using our gifts to edify our Christian brothers and sisters (1 Peter 4:8-11).

Every Christian should have a fervent love for Christ. Then, that love continues its flow from the Throne of Grace through us and onto our brethren with ample supply to cover a multitude of sins.  The Bible addresses the need for church discipline concerning reprehensible sins in a Christian’s life. However, that thing we see in a brother or sister’s life, which is minor or petty, the apostle encourages us to let our love for one another cover the trivial matter (v 8).

His edification does not stop with love alone. We are encouraged to be hospitable, a great virtue. Peter presses in, instructing us to be hospitable and to demonstrate hospitality without grumbling. My dad often said, “Guests, like fish, stink after three days.” Dad had many clever sayings but contextually he would be in error. We are called to open our hearts to those who are in need, regardless of the duration. Even if we are seemingly exploited, we are not to grumble as we care for them (v 9).

Equipped with love, purveying hospitality, we should steward the gifts given us by God, for the edification of Church. No Christian is exempt. We are all called to the ministry of our gifts, empowered by the Holy Spirit. We normally think of stewardship in the context of finances. Finances have their rightful place in stewardship, but in this text, Pastor Peter has a grander view. He instructs believers to actively steward God’s abundant grace for the building-up of the church (v 10).

The author closes this paragraph on edifying gifts by reminding us that one of our greatest gifts is God’s Word, which informs our minds and sets our hearts ablaze. In the same way let us be zealous to use our gifts to God’s Glory, as He supplies the strength (v 11).

  • Selby Brannon

Growing The Gifts We Are Given

As Christmas approaches I am sure all parents can remember a gift that you gave your kids that unfortunately our children weren’t quite ready for. The drone in a tree, or the cell phone that caused a data overage or other issue.

Our Heavenly Father is the giver of perfect gifts but it is amazing how often I can mess His gifts up. For me this typically looks like one of two things:

The gift received that my pride uses to paint myself in a better light than others. This not only kills any productive use of His gift to serve others but holds me back in growing that gift. Also it potentially holds me back from the greater gifts God may desire to equip me with to serve Him. Luke 16:10-11 talks about those being faithful with the little, being entrusted with more.

The second is the gift that I don’t put to use to serve the body. This can happen for several reasons, my distraction with lesser things, or my fear that I am not that gifted to do something. Paul encourages Timothy to fan into a flame the gift he was given (2 Timothy 1:6). Many of the gifts given by God we are called to use in small but faithful ways and watch Him expand and grow that gift within us as we rest in the fact that this is a gift that God has given me to serve the body.

There are many who encourage me in my faith at Leroy by how faithful they are with the gifts God has given them. I think of people in our child care and kid’s church areas that serve often unseen but allow parents to relax and know their children are being taken care of, giving them the freedom to sit in a service and hear God’s Word. The list of people using their gifts at Leroy is long and they encourage us in our faith and use of the gifts God has given us.

  • Steve Selle

Using Your Gifts in Giving

Tis (almost) the season for giving … giving thanks, and then giving gifts. Of course, we ought always to be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:18), and always be giving gifts (Romans 12:6). So, let me help us think a little deeper about the kind of gifts we give to honor the Lord and bless one another.

Gifts of Sacrifice

It doesn’t matter what you have, how much or how little. What matters is what you do with what you have. Do you consume it on yourself? Do you hoard resources, preparing the back-up to the back-up? Do you do the least to get by? Or does your heart overflow with a desire to put yourself in a place where you have to rely on God to give to you because you have given to others? It comes so easy to think about how to have our own needs met, and rationalize how we need what we’ve been given for ourselves. Don’t think “big”, just think “sacrificial”.

Gifts of Self

It’s nice to get stuff, it’s nicer to “get” connection with the person who did the giving of the stuff. Think about who God uniquely created you and how to give some of that away to others. Use words, use creativity, use thoughtfulness, use purpose, and use a heart that knows what God has done IN you is the most important thing about you. Share that!

Using your gifts is more than serving in a church ministry, volunteering in the community, or wrapping a present to share with another. Using your gifts is more about cherishing the greatest gift that was given to you. That then makes you a person who can regularly look outside of your own little world, be thoughtful about what truly blesses another human, and give gifts that fit the Gospel gift of grace you’ve been given. Pray for me in this, and I will pray for you this holiday season!

  • Mark Spansel