Tuesday, April 04, 2006

40-Days to Servanthood: Day 31

Servants use their spiritual gifts.

I read somewhere about a man who never opened his Christmas presents. Instead, each year, he placed his newest gifts under the tree with past years’ packages, all unopened.

It’s a stupid story. But it’s the story of most Christians. God gives all believers in Christ at least one spiritual gift to be used in ministries of service. But most Christians never open their gifts.

Yesterday, we said that there’s probably no end to the numbers of spiritual gifts God distributes in the Church. But I have always felt that a good general list is shared by Paul in Romans 12:6-8. There, the apostle mentions seven gifts. Every Christian should exhibit a measure of the attributes Paul mentions. We’re all called to serve and to give, for example. But people with any of the spiritual gifts Paul lists have the capacity for expressing them at greater depth and with greater impact on the church and the world than the rest of us.

Prophecy is the capacity to apply God’s Word to current life situations.

Ministry is more than just the life of servanthood to which all Christians are called. People with this gift take service to extraordinary lengths, usually being the anonymous faithful on which every church relies. This is an all-purpose gift, indispensable to the Church. (I call people who possess this gift, "the church's utility infielders." Some experts on spiritual gifts estimate that in any given church, about 70% of the adults have this gift.)

Teaching is the ability to make difficult Biblical truths clear.

The gift of exhortation encompasses a two-sided capacity for (1) encouraging the despondent and (2) motivating the spiritually lazy or rebellious.

The gift of giving motivates its possessor to give more than the usual 10% of their income to the cause of Christ and to charitable or community causes. These folks aren’t necessarily wealthy; they know how to stretch their money to serve others.

Those with the gift of leadership don’t bark orders. They’re believers whom others seem inclined to follow in one way or another. To be diligent in the exercise of this gift means, in part, to be in constant prayer so as to avoid abusing the privileges of leadership.

The gift of compassion is exhibited by those who love to engage in ministries of mercy.

Try different ministries and learn what gifts God wants you to open.

Servants use their spiritual gifts.

Bible Passage to Ponder: “We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us...” (Romans 12:7).

UPDATE: Dan, at A Slower Pace, has linked to this blog, making special mention of the 40-Days to Servanthood Lenten readings. Thank you, Dan!


Matt Brown said...

Is that what Christmas looked like at your house last year?

Mark Daniels said...

No. I found the picture on Google Images.