Gifts and Gratitude
" Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed" I Corinthians 12:1
Oh no, Pastor Sam is going to put in a shameless plug for the spiritual gifts class that begins on Sunday! Well, maybe a bit! But really, whether you choose to be part of that class or not, I hope to encourage you with the truth that God has invested much in you that is meant to be unpacked and used for his kingdom and glory.
With Christmas approaching and many of us already strategizing about gifts we hope to give to people that are dear to us, I want you to imagine this scenario: You carefully save and plan for the perfect gift for someone you love. You wrap it with love, thinking about how much they will appreciate it and enjoy using it. But on Christmas Day, they choose not to open the gift, placing it in a closet for some future time. You would feel disappointed and sad for sure!
Just as it brings us joy to see someone enjoy a gift we gave them, it gives our Father joy to see us exercise the gifts he gave. In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus tells the story of the 3 servants in whom he invested portions of his property while he went away on a long journey. Please read the story, it has many beautiful and sobering implications to what we do with what God entrusted in us!
In this story, what was missing in the servant who was given one talent of his master's property? His view of his master was different, untrusting, cynical, fearful. He may have resented the lesser amount entrusted to him. He was certainly not grateful, and never unpacked his talent to expand his master's kingdom.
Spiritual Gifts, as distributed by the Holy Spirit to all who put their faith in Jesus for salvation and receive his new life, serve three main purposes that are so important to the body of Christ.
First, they bring God glory!! Ultimately, your life and the gifts he has given you were made to bring him glory. Spiritual gifts are not human in origin. As they are unpacked and exercised in the Body and in the world, they reflect the glory of the One who gave them!
Secondly, they extend and strengthen his kingdom. As gifts are put into practice, the church becomes more vibrant and spiritually alive and healthy. Spiritual gifts help to reinforce the church's foundation through biblical teaching and preaching. They help believers to overcome the evil one through encouragement and prayer. They bring the gospel to those who have not heard through evangelism and serving.
Thirdly, they bring fullfilment and reward to those who exercise them. In a family, or a church family, much of our sense of belonging is connected to knowing that we have something of value to contribute. A child who remains silent and emotionally disconnected will often feel rejected and unimportant. In the parable, there is also the reward of having the master say, " Well done!" That's the greatest reward that I hope you are pressing towards!
As you move into the week of Thanksgiving, I hope that you are truly grateful for the gifts you have been given, including the Spiritual Gifts the Father has entrusted to you. I also encourage you to unpack those gifts and put them into practice for God's glory!