Summary: It’s both thrilling and exciting discovering the gifts God has given us and using them. First we have to ask ourselves some questions about who God has made us and what he has given us.
MAXIMISING YOUR MINISTRY
Part Three: Identifying your gifts
Read: Matthew 25:14-30
The parable of the talents teaches us three basic yet key truths …..
God has distributed gifts. Relate Matthew 25:15 with Ephesians 4:6,7. By gift we can mean any number of things from a specific talent in a visibly defined area to a character gift that is a constant means of ministry in the life of a believer or church. The point remains God has distributed gifts. This means that each believer is made with the potential to contribute to the work and ministry of the body of Christ.
Your attitude will determine how you use your gift. Matthew 25:16-18. The choice is simple. Investment or burial. Investment brings growth burial brings decay. It is quite simply a matter of choice. The choice to use what God has given me or the choice to ignore, hide or bury what God has given me. Some Christians cannot find their gift because it is buried under a hardened covering of indifference and apathy toward God. Whereas some Christians prosper because they invest what God has given them.
God expects increase on his return. Matthew 25:26,27. God wants hi church to GROW. We are given a sum to invest into his church to help it grow. The assertion of Jesus that “I will build my church…” does NOT remove our responsibility to play our part in God’s purposes. All of creation points to a God of increase. We were not intended to be different.
Why did the master take such a hard line with the third servant ? Quite simply he expected the servants to do NO LESS than he himself would have done had he not gone away. The master would have invested and made his ‘property’ grow. His absence changed nothing just that he passed on his intentions to those he thought he could trust.
We have ALL been given a foundational gift that is SALVATION. Use it and others will be saved ….. Ab-use it and other will be put off.
So we move on aware that we have a massive responsibility to use what we have been given.
A brief look at Gifts in the New Testament
3 key passages of NT relate to gifts. (overhead) Note please Paul seems to distinguish differing types of gifts….. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 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.
The Working / Activity Gifts …. Romans 12:6-8. I would suggest that apart from prophecy these are gifts that can easily be part of a persons character, personality or make up. They are quality gifts in that they can be descriptive of a person as much as an action. For example someone can be described as merciful as well as they can be described as acting in mercy.
I believe these gifts can form the foundation blocks of future ministry. They have been called the motivational gifts and are given to enable each part of the body to contribute to the overall good of the church.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit …. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11. These gifts I believe are different in that they are not gifts we possess or function in on a regular basis but are actually gifts released upon us at specific moments to empower that work we are doing for the Lord. These are never declared in the NT to be only public, vocal gifts. But they do ‘manifest’ the presence and power of God in any given situation.
The Ministry Gifts …. Ephesians 4:11,12. These are ministries given to the church by Jesus. Each one of them perfectly visible in his life and ministry. These are the leaders gifts that inspire the whole body towards growth and maturity and are designed to equip the saints for the work of ministry.
Important note : Not every possible gift, ministry or service is mentioned in the NT, this does not mean that they are not part of God’s design or intention for the church. For example there is no mention in the NT of Youth or Children’s work ; no mention of Worship or Drama teams ; no mention of Welcome or Visitation teams ; no mention of Church cleaning or gardening but every contribution to the life, ministry and vision of the church is a valuable act of ministry. As I have said before we all play a part however large or small - a Trumpet or a triangle it all makes the sound better.
So how do I identify my gifting or ministry ?
There are 2 keys questions to ask to help identify where your gifting or ministry may lie.