I think that most Americans look forward to Christmas morning. I know that this was true for me growing up and also my children. The opening of Christmas gifts is what keeps kids from falling asleep at night and waking extremely early. I can remember lying in bed, until I could not wait any longer, to wake my parents so we could open presents. There were no unopened gifts by the time we were done! What a shame it would be to leave gifts untouched on Christmas morning! The sad truth is many Christians fail to open the gift(s) that God has given them.
This past Sunday as we explored what it means to “Love my local Church” we talked about serving. It can be easy to think that accepting Christ is all that is involved in being a follower of Jesus, but that is not true. Part of being a follower of Jesus, a disciple, involves living in community with other followers. One part of these symbiotic relationships is serving one-another and the Bible teaches that every believer has received a spiritual gift(s). The sad reality is that to not use these gifts would be the same as leaving a Christmas gift under the tree unopened.
First, we need to be reminded that these gifts are empowered by God. The Bible reminds us, “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” (1 Corinthians 12:11) The word “empowered” here speaks of the source of power. A spiritual gift is a God given ability to help others. This past Sunday I talked about our cultures fascination with Superheroes. Most people in the audience could identify at least one favorite superhero that they admired for a particular supernatural ability. It is these abilities to lay the basis for them being great. The Bible reminds us that the believer also has a super power available to them through their spiritual gift.
Second, I need to point out in our verse above that it is God who determines which gift(s) a believer receives. Now, we fall into the trap of coveting the gift of another or we may think that we have nothing to offer. Both of these ways of thinking are false because God has to chosen the gift you received and has given you at least one gift! I mentioned Sunday that I really enjoy the movie Avengers. What I liked about this movie is the collection of superheroes who faced a task that none of them could solve alone. They needed each other. This is a power picture of God’s design for the local church. It is filled with a collection of Spiritually gifted believers that need each other to accomplish God’s purpose for their church.
Third, you only become a hero when you use your gift. Think about this for a moment. Superman is not a superhero if he does not use his supernatural ability to help his community! The same is true for followers of Jesus. What makes them a hero is when they put their God given gift into use helping others.
Check out the message from this Sunday here for more specifics and practical suggestions on how to start using your gift(s). Let me leave you with this question’ “So why has God given you to your church?”
-Pastor Joe Parkinson