Summary: Discover your unique God-given SHAPE to be used and developed and consequently experience the blessings of serving God as you were equipped to do so.
Introduction: Are you in shape? Earlier this year I went and had a full check up, everything including chest xrays, and ekg. Everything came back fine. My cholesterol was in the normal range but my triglycerides were a little too high. The doctors office just said to watch my diet and not eat too much starches and sugar. That includes a lot of great food. I was not too happy about that. I then went onto the internet to find out what triglycerides are and what I should do about this. The best information that I found said, “Triglyceride is the principle form of fat found in foods, body tissues and blood. It is a name given to all visible fat. Fat in food becomes fat (triglycerides) in our blood. A diet high in carbohydrate (sugar and starches) and alcohol may also raise blood triglyceride levels. If you are overweight, your body stores the extra calories that you eat as triglycerides. A HIGH TRIGLYCERIDE LEVEL is one risk factor associated with the development of heart disease. There are FOUR reasons for high triglycerides: 1. OVERWEIGHT. 2. A diet high in sugar and starches. 3. A high alcohol intake. 4. Stress. How can blood triglycerides be lowered? High triglyceride levels can be controlled in most cases, but not cured. To do so you must make permanent, beneficial changes in your lifestyle. 1. Achieve and maintain your ideal body weight. To do that, examine your eating habits. Are you overeating, eating only one large, late meal a day, having a bedtime snack? There are many reasons for overeating, not just hunger (stress, boredom). 2. Increase your activity. If you are overweight, you have taken in more calories than you have used up. "Burn up" calories by exercising - moderate brisk walking (1/2 hour 3 - 4 times per week, or as directed by your physician). 3. Decrease your calorie intake. Take smaller portion sizes at each meal. Use low calorie foods and snacks. Have three meals a day rather than one large, late meal. Choose whole grain, higher in fiber breads, cereals, crackers, whole grain pastas, and rice. Try homemade, high fiber, low sugar baked goods. Fruits contain natural sugars. Limit fruit juice and use only 100 % fruit juice, no sugar added brands. Choose whole fruits more often. Use artificial sweeteners. 4. Avoid alcohol until you have reached your ideal weight and your triglycerides are within or below the normal range.” The bottom line is that I can control all of these factors in my life. Therefore, I made an effort to get in shape. God has given us all our unique SHAPE and I am not just referring to our unique shape of physical body. I mean that God has given us all our own unique spiritual gifts, passions, abilities, personalities, and experiences that God expects us to use in serving Him. Jesus shares a parable about the resources, responsibility, and the rewards of using our unique SHAPE to serve God. Look at Luke 19:11-27 . . . .
Jesus first wants us to know that He has given us all the RESOURCES that we need to serve Him. As Jesus was approaching Jerusalem many of the people wondered if Jesus was to be the new leader of the Jewish people to bring about a new kingdom from God and set them free from the oppressive rule of the Roman government. Jesus knew what they were expecting so He used the situation to tell them a story. The setting of this story is a large empire, where a person of royal birth, a nobleman is about to receive royal power from the Emperor. Most likely Jesus is drawing on recent history here in telling this story. Apparently after the death of Herod the Great, his son Archelaus went to Rome to ask Caesar to make him king over Judea. But Herod hadn’t been too popular among the Jews, so they sent a delegation of 50 men to oppose his appointment. So there’s a ring of truth about the story. You could probably hear some giggles and murmuring in the crowd as Jesus was telling the story. It was amazingly similar to a current affair that they just saw on CNN. Well, here is this nobleman going on a long journey. He’s going to be away for some time, and when he gets back he expects to be king. So, what does he do? He calls his servants in and gives each of them a sum of money and tells them to put it to work until he comes back. Notice that they each receive the same amount of money. About 3 to 4 months wages.
Jesus is obviously the nobleman who is getting ready to leave His disciples to go to His Father where He will be exalted as King by His Father. In the meantime Jesus has given His disciples and us today as His disciples all the resources that we need to serve Him. What unique resources has God gifted you with? What is then your SHAPE? What Spiritual Gift or gifts did God give you? Teaching, preaching, shepherding or pastoring, helping, serving, gifts of compassion and mercy, gift of administration, gift of leadership, evangelism, healing, discernment, etc . . . ? Look at Romans 12 & 1 Corinthians 12 for a place to start to study the gifts. Go online to our website at www.bigbendumc.com and look at the links section where you can find three different online spiritual gift inventories that anyone can take and begin to learn about the different spiritual gifts in the Bible and possibly which one or ones that God might have given you. What is it that you get passionate about? What is near and dear to you that makes your Heart beat faster? Money, ministry in the workplace, healthcare, teaching, families, children, youth, singles, seniors, the church in general, administration, evangelism, or the homeless? What Abilities have you learned in this life? Are you particularly athletic, a great cook, a whiz with the computer, learned how to teach or how to lead or how to manage an organization? Maybe you have learned how to repair cars or do woodworking or build things? What is your unique Personality? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Are you more serious or more silly? Are you quiet or loud? What kind of Experiences do you have? You may have weathered some tough times in your life, a loss, or a significant struggle. You may have lived in different parts of this world that have broadened you.