A Full Measure of Thanksgiving
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:23-24)
1 Corinthians 12:4 says, “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.”
I think of the great Christian athlete, Eric Liddell, “God’s Joyful Runner.” He won a gold medal in the 400-meter and a bronze in the 200-meter at the 1924 Paris Olympics. His refusal to run on a Sunday is detailed in “Chariots of Fire.” Two great scenes come to my mind as I consider the film made of this Christian hero of the faith. One when Eric said, “I sense His pleasure when I run” and two when Eric was handed a note that said, “The Good Book says, ‘God honors those who honor Him.’” Eric faced enormous pressures from team mates, his countryman, and fans when he refused to run a race on a Sunday. No doubt this note placed his thoughts on God’s view of things and gave him courage to live out his convictions before Jesus Christ, His Savior and Lord.
Every obedient child of God faces enormous pressures from those in this world as they walk instep with the Holy Spirit. Thus, they need to hear from those who will point their spiritual hearts to God and Christ in the midst of the trials and pressures of life.
Spiritual gifts are best understood as being Holy Spirit enabled to serve the Lord, the Body of Christ and those in this world for the glory of Jesus Christ. The church is not a building, denomination, or fellowship. The church is the Body of Christ, sinners saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. (Ephesians 2:8) Born again Christians have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of Christ, (Ephesians 2:22) thus, they are equipped by Him to do service for the building of the Kingdom of God. When we express gratitude to those who are exercising their Spiritual gifts through sacrificial love, (1 Corinthians 12-14) we are in fact expressing gratitude to God who created (Isaiah 45:12) and called the person to Christ, (John 6:44) expressing gratitude to Christ who purchased sinners by giving His life (Revelation 5:9) and expressing gratitude to the Holy Spirit who gives the gifts as He chooses. (1 Corinthians 12:11)
Here is a list of some very key Spiritual gifts that are worthy of expressions of gratitude (this is not a full exposition on Holy Spirit gifts or how they are to function in the Body of Christ). To help you get a grasp on these gifts I am placing them in three categories, 1.) Service Gifts, 2.) Sign Gifts, and 3.) Spiritual Support Gifts. (Please note: You may write a note, give a card or even speak personally to the servant of the Lord exercising any of these gifts.)
Administration – Romans 12:8 speaks of the gift of administration or leadership. There are those who have on different occasions given direction, directed or governed some key spiritual ministry opportunity for the glory of Christ. Take time to thank those who you have seen administer this gift in some way. Be specific. Example: “I want to thank you for taking the time to oversee the __________________ ministry.”
Encouragement – Romans 12:8 speaks of the gift of encouragement. Often there is someone who has been in the same circumstance that you are in. Through the counsel of God’s Word and testimony that glorifies the Lord, this encourager spoke a word that kept you on the course God had set you on. Be specific. Example: “I want to thank you for the encouragement the Lord gave me when you shared __________________.”
Contributing – Romans 12:8 speaks of those who have the gift of giving to the work of the Lord. This gift is an enabling of the Holy Spirit to give beyond the tithe. These Christians have given repeatedly to the work of the Lord and to meeting the needs of the people. When appropriate, thank that person for a specific gift and share how it was used of the Lord.
Helps or Serving – Romans 12:7 speaks of those who are known as being Christians or people who express a life of helping others. When you hear of a practical need, it does not surprise you to hear that those who have this gift are right at hand to meet the need again and again and again. When you are aware of the person exercising this gift, take time to thank that person. Being specific takes the expression of appreciation right to the heart.
Mercy – Romans 12:8 speaks of the gift of mercy. When people are hurting, especially because of choosing to live outside of God’s perfect will, there are Christians whom the Lord uses to express His mercy. This mercy enables the backslidden, the misguided and the lost to look to God for mercy with an expectation it may be enjoyed in due season. Think of the time when the Lord brought such a person into your life. Make time to thank that person for exercising this gift and share (when appropriate) the Lord’s goodness regarding the matter.
Distinguishing Between Spirits – In 1 Corinthians 12:10 we read of Holy Spirit led Christians who have the gift of distinguishing between spirits. Satan persistently tries to counterfeit the work of the Holy Spirit, therefore, God has gifted His servants with the ability to discern spiritual things. There are those who are not confused with a critical spirit in the natural, thus they are able to discern the heart of God in spiritual matters. These Christians are very faithful in disciplined prayer and have great knowledge of the Word of God. Every church that has true disciplined times of prayer has servants of the Lord whom you can trust to discern spiritual matters. Think of that person who has proven faithful in long seasons of prayer and deep study of God’s Word. That is the person you can show appreciation to, because distinguishing between spirits is a much needed gift in the Body of Christ.
Healing – There are those in the Body of Christ, as the Lord chooses and in His time who are given a word to speak forth healing through prayer. (1 Corinthians 12:9) Take time to think of those who prayed with you in faith and the Lord granted the healing you sought. Make time to thank them for praying with or for you. God is the great physician, whether He chooses to use modern medicine or to bring healing at the moment when the prayer is offered. It is God who gives His servants the faith to pray in a manner that honors Christ.
Spiritual Support Gifts:
Word of Knowledge – This gift is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8 and 14:6. This is that word that was spoken to you dealing with a factual matter coming from a trusted brother in Christ who had no knowledge of the circumstance at hand. It was given with the perfect timing uncontrolled by you or anyone else. As the Holy Spirit reminds you of a time when you enjoyed this gift, make time to show appreciation to the vessel from whom it was exercised.
Word of Wisdom – This gift is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8. This is a word given through the Holy Spirit to you through a trusted brother giving you wisdom on how to apply a truth or accomplish the task set before you. As the Lord reveals to you a person whom He has used to give you this wisdom, make time to express appreciation to that person.
Prophesying – Romans 12:6 speaks of those who have the gift of “prophesying” which is “…not primarily prediction but communication of revealed truth that will both convict and build up the hearers.” (The Expositors Bible Commentary) It is a special gift that enables the preachers (Ephesians 4:11) to expound the Holy Scriptures. (Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon) This gift of the Holy Spirit enables the proclaimer of God’s Word to declare the Lord’s purpose, whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, or comforting the hurting and afflicted. (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon; The Pulpit Commentary) This gift enables the preacher to make known the will of God, which is designed to influence men. (Barnes Notes) There are different people who have exercised this gift by denying themselves certain privileges so they can be prepared to preach and teach the Word of God. The Bible says that people are unworthy of those who exercise this gift. Make time to express appreciation to those who have a proven faithful to the Lord and to you through exhortation by exercising this gift.
Faith – 1 Corinthians 12:9 speaks of the Holy Spirit giving members of the church a faith that enables them to see through to completion that which God calls them to do. The Holy Spirit using the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, gives such an enlightenment of a truth that it causes Christians to live a life of pleasing faith to God. There is someone whom you know is a Holy Spirit enlightened, Word-minded Christian who expresses a genuine faith to God. Take time to thank them for exhibiting Biblical faith.
Song Service Teams – 1 Chronicles 25 speaks of those having people trained and skilled for music in the house of the Lord. Make time to thank those who weekly exercise their gift to the church.
Again this is not a exhaustive Biblical teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, however, there is enough truth presented here to equip you to show appreciation for those who exercise their Holy Spirit gifts for the common good of Christians and those who do not know Christ.
Praying the Lord’s best as you prayerfully consider how you may enjoy, “A Full Measure of Thanksgiving.”
In His Service,
Pastor Terry L. Laughlin
Unashamedly Believing, Preaching and Teaching God’s Word