Summary: The neglect of our ministry gift will stifle personal growth and cripple the ministry of the church.
Do Not Neglect Your Gift.
Once we returned to campus and things began to settle down everyone began to look to our appointed day for morning focus.
That is until the list was put up on the bulletin board and everyone saw that we had all been assigned topics. Standing in the hall of learning you could hear the sigh of disbelief. It was as if someone had let the air out of the balloon and it went zinging in the air.
Like many of my session mates I began to grumble as I looked at the board and saw my own date and topic. At first I thought Aman here we go again they want to run every part of my life. Don=t they think that God could give me a topic? I thought we had a little more freedom as a second year cadet.@
As I walked away, God began to speak to me. Fireworks went off in my head and as I began to walk up the stairs I felt God saying Ago back and take a second look.@ I went back to take a second look at the board and at my topic.
It was then and there that God showed me the reason this topic was meant for me. Who better than I would know the meaning of this verse. In a more personal manner.
Last year I came here thinking I had all this experience and I would sit back learn what I needed to learn and discard what I didn=t feel like I had time for or I thought was for somebody else.
Cross Bearers, if you haven=t already, you will hear Major Hobbins tell you that we learn by Aspaced repetition.@ She will tell you this same thing many times over. This is a very true statement.
However, she doesn=t tell you that your spaced repetitious learning can be either gentle or painful.
Let me read to you what the Message Bible has to say about today=s passage. 1 Timothy 4:14: AAnd that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed ---- keep that dusted off and in use.@
Many other translations talk about Timothy=s experience to include a prophetic offering being delivered to further set him apart for service to God.
Craig Keener tells us that prophetic utterances are part of divine rights for Akings and other officials.@ Paul mentioned this as proof of Timothy=s anointing by not only the board of elders but by God (615).
We also go before a board of elders to get to training. It is our candidate=s board. Our elders go over our entire paper work meet and talk about each of our individual cases and listen for the voice of God to confirm our calling to them. Our laying on of the hands comes when we are commissioned and receive our first appointments.
Kenneth Cain Kinghorn has written a wonderful book which I recommend, it is entitled AGifts of the Spirit.@ In the chapter entitled Biblical Bases for Spiritual Gifts. Kinghorn says that; AThe Bible does not give us a formal definition of spiritual gifts. Technically though, a spiritual gift refers to a supernatural enabling of the Holy Spirit which equips a Christian for his work of service and ministry@ (20).
Kinghorn also says that there are five basic principles regarding spiritual gifts.
1. God imparts spiritual gifts according to his divine grace.
2. God gives spiritual gifts according to his own direction.
3. God wills that every Christian exercise spiritual gifts.
4. God provides gifts for the purpose of ministry and service.
5. God intends that the ministry of the church be accomplished through spiritual gifts.
Philip H. Towner in his commentary on the books of Timothy and Titus says that there are four aspects of AEffective Ministry.@
1. Exemplary Christian Lifestyle.
2. God-centered Worship.
3. Exercise of Spiritual Gifts & Calling.
4. Diligence & Growth.
Like Timothy we all have gifts. God has chosen us to be a part of AKingdom Building,@ as Colonel Swyers would say. We obtain that ability to build the Kingdom from the Holy Spirit. Towner tells us we have been called into leadership of God=s church and as such we have received a ASpecial Appointment@ from God (112).
Timothy=s gift was made public so that those who would have problems due to his youth and inexperience would be silenced. Towner says, when it is made public in this way it is to recognize God=s binding choice and publicly bless us for service. The Agift makes ministry possible. The calling makes ministry obligatory@ (112).
Since my return from summer assignment I have testified that attitude is everything. If I had the opportunity to do my first year over it would be for the specific purpose to use my gift of ministry. Last year I fought God every step of the way. I didn’t realize that some things were expected of me because of my ministry experience. God was requiring me to be an example for those who had not had any experience. I was arrogant and needed an attitude adjustment. Well I got one. Maybe not the kind that some think I needed but nonetheless I got one.