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.
What are your gifts? Are you a good rugby player or a concert pianist? Are you a born leader or a superb administrator? Are your people skills second to none or are you a technological whizz kid? Perhaps you’re a talented interior designer or a competent accountant.
Maybe you haven’t discovered what your particular skills or areas of expertise are yet. Don’t worry if this is you; there are plenty of us still waiting to discover what our God-given talents are!
In today’s verses, Paul is in no doubt that our skills and talents are gifts from God. He is also in no doubt that, whatever skills we have been given, we must use them. Just as you would be disappointed if you gave a friend a marvellous gift as a birthday present, only for him to put it unused into a box in the garage, God is disappointed if we don’t use the gifts that he has given us. Of course, if we love God, we should be putting those gifts actively into his service.
It’s very easy, particularly in a large Church, to sit back and be a passive consumer of what goes on around us, to turn up, listen to the sermon, sing the songs, and then go home without making any contribution to the life of the Church. We have to question whether this is the right approach, however.
In the previous verses in this letter, which we looked at yesterday, Paul portrayed the Church as a body of many parts, with individuals making up those parts. To function at its best, a body needs all its parts; two arms, two legs, a head, and so on. A Church is just the same; to function at its best, it needs all of its parts; welcomers at the door, someone to make the coffee, people to work with the children, preachers, musicians, people to lead outreach and many more. It might be that you have a particular skill that is desperately needed by your Church, and the leadership team are praying for you to come forward. You could be an answer to prayer. From the pew you might not even be aware of the need. If you’re a mean lead guitarist and your Church already has one, you might think there’s no need for you to come forward. But it may be that the current guitarist feels overstretched, has issues at work, needs to spend more time with his family and is hoping for someone to share the burden with.
Let’s thank God today for our gifts, and resolve to use them, whatever they may be, for his glory. If we’re not really sure what gifts we have to offer, let’s pray that we might discover what our particular skills are. And let’s encourage those around us, praise their gifts, and help them to utilise these for the good of the kingdom!