“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve, if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage then give encouragement; if it is giving then give generously; if it is to lead do it diligently; if it is to show mercy do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8
The book of Acts in the Bible is actually a type of genre that was popular in its time. Such works chronicled the acts of a heroic figure or an important city. Some commentators divide this book into the acts of Peter and Paul, but read through it and you will meet a host of gifted early Christians. These were some of the original laity, and they ought to give us an idea of the many things lay people can accomplish.
- Lydia used her gift of hospitality to invited others into her home to hear the gospel. (Acts 16:15)
- Philip had the gift of evangelism. He witnessed one-on-one to an Ethiopian. (Acts 8:35)
- Barnabas was called “son of encouragement.” He encouraged Paul, Mark and others.(Acts 4:36)
- Stephen was known for his wisdom.(Acts 6:10)
- Cornelius was generous and faithful.(Acts 10:1-2)
- Tabitha served others. (Acts 9:36)
- The Bereans studied the Bible earnestly to gain knowledge. (17:10-11)
- Apollos, Priscilla and Aquila were all gifted teachers (Acts 18:24-26)
Peter and Paul deserve our respect and admiration, but they could not have spread the gospel alone. The church needs pastors and missionaries, but it also needs the laity. We have been given gifts to support, encourage and maintain the church. We also have the ability to reach and serve people in our family, community and work environments, who may never meet the pastor. Study the book of Acts and see where your special gift fits in — the church needs you!