“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10-11
The end of the year is a good time to look back and not only reflect on how I have served others this year, but to make a plan for the coming year. The verse above tells us that as faithful workers for God, serving is our responsibility …. but how seriously do we actually take it?
Sure, I serve others, but rather haphazardly. I wait for someone to ask, for a group at church to choose a ministry or for a donation request to arrive in the mail. I have to admit I rarely sit down and ask myself, “What goals do I have for serving others?” and “How will I reach those goals?”
My “Prevent Diabetes” class has taught me that I can accomplish more than I thought when I have a clear goal and a plan. Our plan for service should include using the specific, individual gifts which God has given. I can’t do everything, so I need to concentrate on those things that I do best.
I don’t have the answers yet, because this thought has just now occurred to me. It’s something I’ll be praying about, and I’m hoping this post will encourage others to do the same. Look for more on this topic in January as I wrestle with myself and God. One thing that will definitely be on my list is this blog, which uses both my passion for writing, and (hopefully) my spiritual gifts of wisdom and encouragement. Have we served you this year, readers? I’d love to hear some responses.
“My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him and serve Him, to minister before Him and to burn incense.” 2 Chronicles 29:11
This was part of my devotional reading a few days ago, and it brings me back to spiritual gifts once again. The King Hezekiah is speaking here to the priests and Levites. The previous King Ahaz was wicked and had kept them from performing their duties in the temple; now Hezekiah intends to set things right. He reminds them that they have been chosen to serve God and should return to the special tasks they’ve been assigned.
God has chosen us to be his children and to serve Him. In order to do that, He gave every one of us at least one spiritual gift. If we don’t use those gifts, we’re not only being negligent, we’re being disobedient and ungrateful to the Giver! Listen to what the apostle Paul has to say:
“We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8
So my question to myself (and to each of our readers) today is this: how am I using my own spiritual gifts? A gift that is left unopened is of no use at all. Don’t be negligent — use your gifts in the service of the one Who gave them.
We haven’t had a song this month yet, and I was having a hard time thinking of one that dealt with spiritual gifts. Looking through With One Voice in church this week I found this one. If you haven’t heard it before, I think you’ll love the lively calypso beat. It will inspire you to use your gifts to spread God’s Word.l
This prayer comes from the book Prayers of the Reformers compiled by Clyde Manschreck. It was written by John Calvin.
“Grant, almighty God, since thou dost try the faith of thy people by many tests that they may obtain strength from the unconquered fortitude of thy Holy Spirit. May we constantly march under thy standard, even to the end, and never succumb to any temptation. May we join intelligence with zeal in building up thy church. As each of us is endowed with superior gifts so may he strive for the edification of his brethren with greater boldness, manliness and fervor, while he endeavors to add numbers to the cause. And should the number diminish, yet may some seed always remain, until abundant produce shall flow forth from it, and such fruitfulness arise as shall cause thy name to be glorified throughout the world, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”