March 2019

From The Pastor's Heart

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by serving in your area of giftedness.

By Charles F. Stanley

Over the years I’ve noticed that there are many true believers who sit in pews and listen to sermons every Sunday but have no confidence or motivation to serve in any way. As a result, they feel disconnected. Could that describe you? Do you sometimes feel more like a spectator than an integral part of the church you attend? If so, you are missing out on what Christ intended His church to be—His body, which is composed of many members who are gifted to serve in a variety of ways.

The truth is that if you’re a believer, you have already been equipped to serve the Lord in your local church. This doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily feel adequate or won’t need to be trained and grow in your abilities, but God has provided all you need to obey Him in this area.

His process of equipping you for service began at the moment of your salvation when the Holy Spirit regenerated your spirit and brought it to life. Then He came to live within you to empower your obedience and transform you into the image of God’s Son. But the Spirit also gave you a special spiritual gift to enable you to serve in the way God planned. He gives a gift to every believer, and you are not an exception. If you’ve been born again, you have a spiritual gift, whether you realize it or not.

What is a spiritual gift? The Greek term is charisma, which means a gift of divine grace freely given through no merit of our own but simply as an act of God’s favor toward us. It’s a special ability or enablement by which we can carry out the work He’s called us to do. We don’t have to pray for it, and we don’t get to choose which one we want because the Spirit distributes them as He desires (1 Cor. 12:11). The lists of gifts are found in Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11; and Ephesians 4:11. Our responsibility is to discover our gift and employ it in serving one another.

God has provided all you need to obey Him.

What is the difference between a spiritual gift and a natural talent? Unlike spiritual gifts, which are given only to believers, natural talents are inherited abilities and interests that are given at birth to all people (Psalm 139:13-16). However, since both spiritual gifts and talents originate from God, they often work together in our service to Him. For instance, although musical ability is a natural talent, it can be used as a channel through which we express our spiritual gift.

What is the purpose for spiritual gifts? There has been much misunderstanding in this area, and it has brought abuse, misuse, and division in the church. These gifts are not given to us for our own growth, enjoyment, and sense of satisfaction in the Lord.

Although we are blessed in employing them, they are for the benefit of others in the church. Paul clearly teaches this in 1 Corinthians 12:7, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

How do I discover and employ my spiritual gift? Simply having a spiritual gift is of little value if it’s never used in the church. Our goal should be to become good managers of God’s gift of grace. Otherwise, we’re like the slave in the parable in Luke 19:12-27, who out of fear put the money entrusted to him in a handkerchief instead of investing it for his master.

According to 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, there are varieties of gifts, ministries, and effects, and it’s important to realize the distinctions. I believe we are each given one of the motivational gifts mentioned in Romans 12:6-8—prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and mercy. There is something inside us that draws us in a particular direction, drives how we respond in situations, and inspires our interests. For instance, those with the gift of teaching will desire to study Scripture; those with mercy will gravitate toward people who need help and comfort.

Ministries, on the other hand, are opportunities or avenues of service that God opens for us to use our motivational gift. For each motivational gift there are a variety of ways in which it can be expressed. And the effects are the results that come from using the gift in a particular area of ministry. For example, I have the gift of exhortation, my ministry is pastoring, and the effects are the growth of believers and salvation of the lost.

Once you discover how God gifted you and begin serving in that area in some form of ministry, your gift will be sharpened, and you’ll become more proficient and effective in that area. It may take some trial and error, but if you begin the process, God will be faithful to direct your steps. Just remember that your responsibility is faithfulness in service, not in results. God alone is responsible for the results.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by serving in your area of giftedness. So step out and start serving, and discover the joy of knowing that you are obeying the Lord and contributing to the growth and building up of your church.

Charles F. Stanley

P.S. Did you know that your church’s health is contingent upon all its members functioning fully according to God’s purpose? And that includes you. When Christ saved you, He knew that you would need fellow believers for growth and encouragement, and that they would need you as well.


What happens to my notes

11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,

5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;

7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;

8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;

9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.

11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb.

14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

12 So He said, A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return.

13 And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, `Do business with this until I come back. '

14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, `We do not want this man to reign over us.'

15 When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done.

16 The first appeared, saying, `Master, your mina has made ten minas more.'

17 And he said to him, `Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.'

18 The second came, saying, `Your mina, master, has made five minas.'

19 And he said to him also, `And you are to be over five cities.'

20 Another came, saying, `Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief;

21 for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.'

22 He said to him, `By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow?

23 Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?'

24 Then he said to the bystanders, `Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.'

25 And they said to him, `Master, he has ten minas already. '

26 I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.

27 But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence."

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.

6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.

6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;

7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;

8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Background Color:
Light
Aa
Dark
Aa
Font size:
A
A
A