Summary: Are you familiar with Gary Larson's The Far Side? One of his more popular cartoons is "school for the gifted". That's how we can be. God has gifted us but the way we act sometimes you wouldn't know it. We need to make sure we don't bury our talents.
Are you familiar with cartoonist Gary Larson-Far Side. One of his more popular cartoons is "the school for the gifted". [show cartoon]. That's how we can be sometimes, isn't it? God has gifted us but the way we act sometimes you wouldn't know it. Mark's sermon last week featured the parable of the talents.
God gives us each a number of gifts based on how he chooses to distribute them. We need to make sure we're not like the one who buried his talent, but rather like the other servants who used what they had been given and brought the increase to their master. Let's take a look into the subject of spiritual giftedness.
1) Given by God to be used for God.
The Holy Spirit is the gift who brings all the other gifts to us. In Acts 2:38, Peter said when we repent and are baptized we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. That means the Holy Spirit comes to take up residence in us and fills us. Before this, the Holy Spirit can manifest himself to us and he can influence us and move and motivate us.
It's the Spirit who draws us to Christ. We wouldn't seek him on our own; the Spirit reveals himself to us to open our eyes and prick our hearts. So when we respond to that, the gift of the Holy Spirit comes into us. And what follows is the Spirit bestowing his gifts to us.
1st Cor. 12:1-11, "Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines."
Paul wants the Corinthians to understand where their gifts come from and what they are to be used for. Before they were saved the Corinthians followed worthless gods. And whatever talents they had before coming to Christ they probably attributed them to specific gods. But Paul wanted them to know that any and every ability and gift they had came from God.
I like how Paul involves the trinity in his wording-the same Spirit, the same Lord, the same God. They are all incorporated in the administration of the gifts. There are different gifts but the same God is responsible for all of them.
We had abilities and talents before we come to Christ. These abilities are God-given, although we probably didn't credit him for them. We may have understood that certain people possess raw or natural talent but no doubt credited ourselves for the development of those talents.
But if we did realize that our talents were God-given we weren't using them to glorify him. We used our talents for our gain; how they would better our agenda; how they would draw attention to us. But Paul says in verse seven that the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. The purpose for our gifts is not to put ourselves on a pedestal but to better the whole.
The Greek word for "gifts" is charisma. Interestingly, the way we use this word is to describe someone who is charming or has appeal or magnetism. And in essence, when we use our spiritual gifts we should be appealing to others. We should be alluring to them; we want them to be attracted to us. Albeit for the right reasons; not for personal glorification but for the glory of God.
The next section of chapter twelve talks about the fact that we are one body but there are many parts that make up the body. We are one church body but we are all different parts that make up the body. And Paul stresses that all the parts need each other to function.