Summary: The second sermon in the sermon series "Purposeful Stewardship" challenging us to use our gifts and abilities for the service of Christ.

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Gifted for Ministry Introduction: Every Christian has been gifted for ministry with different talents. Purposeful stewardship involves using all these talents to serve others and glorify Christ. “Talents” means both our natural abilities and supernatural, spiritual gifts. God wants us to use our natural abilities and spiritual gifts to serve others and glorify Christ. If we would do so, we must follow three steps:

I. Discover Our Talents “Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well.” -1 Peter 4:10 (CEV) We owe it to ourselves and God to discover our talents. We can never use the talentss God has given us until we first know what they are. It’s not as easy to discover our talents as some might lead us to believe. Ed McManus, editor of The Jokesmith newsletter, wrote a humor booklet about folks in human resources. It’s called What is a Human Resource? and in it he explains how people get assigned to particular jobs. You leave them in a conference room for four hours. Then, you go back to see what they’re doing.

If they don’t look up when you enter the room, assign them to the Security Department.

If they’re counting the butts in the ashtray, put them in Finance.

If they’ve taken the table apart, put them in Engineering.

If they’re screaming and waving their arms, send them off to Manufacturing.

And if they’ve left early, put them in Sales.

But seriously, there are ways in which we can discover our natural abilities and spiritual gifts. One way to recognize our talents is by noticing the things we excel at and enjoy doing. Another is to ask close friends or family members which areas they see as our strengths. Yet a third is to take one of the various tests that measure our strengths and weaknesses, as well as reveal spiritual gifts. I have such tests you can take that can help you to discover your natural abilities and spiritual gifts. But discovering our abilities and gifts is only the first step. Next we need to:

II. Develop Our Talents Knowing what our talents are isn’t enough. We need to develop our natural abilities and spiritual gifts. It’s tragic that many Christians who know what their talents are never bother to develop them for the Master’s use. (**Tell story of Peter Gerber). God gives talents to all of his children. But they must be developed into real talents that benefit others and glorify Christ. Whether your natural ability is cooking, sewing, writing, playing an instrument, singing or athletics, we should work to develop each talent out of respect and in glory of our Creator who bestowed these talents and gifts. We also should work to develop the spiritual gifts God has bestowed upon us. Paul once told Timothy, “Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecies spoken to you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you.” -1 Timothy 4:14 So we mustn’t neglect the spiritual gifts God has given. God gave these gifts to us to build up His church and promote the ministry of Christ. We must first discover our abilities and gifts and second develop them. That brings us to the third and most important step to which the other two lead. We must:

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