Summary: a sermon about our giftedness and the need to share those gifts
Out of the Box
John Ortberg, in his book, “Fully Devoted” recounts this story...
“Many years ago, my grandfather phonedmy mother and offered her some dishes. My grandmother had recently died, and he found a box full of old blue dishes in the attic. He was going to give them to the Salvation Army until he remembered my mother liked the color blue, so he thought he’d see if she had a use for them.
She went into the attic expecting junk and found instead beautiful, handcrafted china with forget-me-not pattern, 24 carat gold trim, and inlaid mother-of-pearl cups. They had been made in a factory in Bavaria that was destroyed in World War II, so they were literally irreplaceable. And she had never see them before.
Over the next few months, she and my father pieced together the story: my grandmother had recieved a dish here or there growing up. They were so valuable that she had put them in a box and waited for an occasion special enough to warrant using them. But in true Swedish fashion, nothing that special ever happened. The gift never made it out of the box.”
The Bible says that God is the ultimate gift-giver; in fact, it calls Him the giver of “every good and perfect gift” - James 1:17
Are We Gifted? , and here is how... .
The apostle Paul describes the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. He says there are a variety of gifts, but the same Holy Spirit; a variety of ministries (ways gifts can be expressed), but the same Lord; a variety of effects or results, but the same God.
Ortberg points out this about verse 7: “to each one” the manifestation of the Spirit is given fot the common good. “To each one.” In the community of the people of God, everyone is gifted, whether those gifts are obvious and public, or private and behind-the-scenes. Simply put, God has made you a specialist in some area of ministry, and He is calling you to minister with your gifts.
He goes on to say, many churches today are still functioning under the model where members view the pastor, and perhaos a few staff members, as the ministers. The common assumption is that these people have a special relationship with God that others don’t have, therefore it’s up to them to do the work of the church. This thinking has left the modern church weak and crippled with overworked pastors or staff and a boatload of unmet needs.
Do you see yourself as a minster? Have you taken the gift out of the box? These gifts are not a luxury that we have the option of using or not. They are an absolute neccessity for the life and health of the church.
II. Are We using our Gifts? , and here is how... .
When the disciples gathered for the Last Supper, Jesus wanted to teach them about servanthood. As they waited for dinner they knew (as anyone of that day would have) that someone needed to start washing feet.This was the role that cleared belonged to the “low man.”
*Most of us can adjust to the fact that we are not the greatest, but we certainly do not
want to be the least.
So the disciples sat there with mud covered feet... until Jesus picked up a towel and a wash bowl. With that single act of humility, he forever redefined greatness.
Consider the words of Richard Foster, from his book “Celebration of Discipline”
“There is an important distinction between choosing to serve and becoming a servant.
When we choose to serve, we view service as an occasional option. We can stay firmly in control. We decide whom, when, and under what conditions we will serve. Sometimes we are drawn to big acts to increase our sense of significance, and sometimes to lowly acts to guarantee a humble image. In any case, if our efforts are not adequately rewarded, we soon withdraw them altogether. Ironically, this so called servanthood often fractures the very community it’s intended to serve.
Conversely, being a servant involves the opening of ourselves to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We relax our grip on our need to stay in firm control. Big acts of service and small are embraced with equal joy. And while words of affirmation recieved from others may be genuinely appreciated, we are content serving an audience of ONE.
Of course, as Christ modeled, there are always times when it is appropriate not to serve; times to let others serve us. Periodically being on the recieving end can, in itself, teach humility to a self reliant heart. Increasingly, however, the trajectory of our livfe needs to move toward the mind-set and practice of serving others. Jesus calls each of us to ministry.