Summary: A study of the service gifts with which God equips His Church.
Text: Rom 12:7-8, Title: Hands and Feet, Date/Place: NRBC, 12.4.11, AM
Opening illustration: heard of the church that gave new members 9 weeks to find a “ministry” or they told them that they would probably fit better at another church where they could do nothing…Or the church that sent letters out to its 8000 members saying serve and give or find somewhere else to leach resources from
Background to passage: we have seen the guiding gifts (words of wisdom and knowledge and faith), the speaking gifts (prophecy, teaching, exhortation, and administration), and next week we will look at the miraculous gifts (tongues, healings, miracles), this week we are taking on the service gifts. These gifts include service, giving, mercy, and helps. These gifts are kinda like the skeleton of the body, that aren’t seen as much because they like serving behind the scenes (this was the main problem in Corinth), but they have a hand in about everything that goes on in ministry. Like all the spiritual gifts, they are an extremely important part of the body.
Main thought: we will look at the service gifts
Service (v. 7)
The gift of service is the word diakonia which is where we get our word “deacon.” It is simply translated “servant,” or “service” or “ministry.” Those with the gift of service enjoy doing routine tasks around the church regardless of how they affect others. Those with this gift enjoy little-noticed, behind the scenes tasks and do them cheerfully. Ministries that have service-gifted people are usually the things that have to get done for things to operate well. This gift has more to do with serving the church and ministry more than other people.
Illustration: Ms. Jackie ensuring necessary kitchen supplies are there, Mike and Wendell every day at the building plugging along, Glenda, Crystal, Miranda, Lynne all came alongside Jennifer last year to ensure that the decorations for VBS got prepared adequately,
Media, music, yard cutting, cleaning, decorating for Christmas, committee work, and other similar ministries are outlets for people with this gift. While serving people with this gift need to guard themselves against: accepting too many jobs at one time. God put the right number of people in NR to do what He wants us to do; if there are truly not enough people to do certain ministries, then we are trying to do too much. And if some of you aren’t serving anywhere, that means that others are having to pick up your slack to do what God has called us to do, OR we are not doing all that we are called to do because there are not enough laborers. Also, guard against going around proper authority in order to get things done. Many times committees and approvals look like government red tape. Also, guard against being hurt by ungratefulness or control freaks. Often you don’t require public recognition, but genuine appreciation in the hearts of those they serve is deeply needed. Do you have this gift? Are you putting it to use?
Giving (v. 8)
These people have an acute awareness that all they have belongs to the Lord and they are merely stewards, therefore they know that God will supply their needs and richly bless them in their giving. And they see causes, ministries, people, and organizations who have financial (or other needs like land, furniture, food, etc.) and they meet those needs generously. It’s good to remember that these people are not simply those with wealth to spare. Another good thing to remember is that God uses us as instruments, but none of us are absolutely necessary, God has plenty of resources. Also, this is not to make those who cannot give exorbitant amounts feel bad. We should all be giving, but not all are blessed with the gift of giving.
Illustration: story of Gary Tryon and the gift to him from a person who was in worse financial shape than he was, some in our congregation that relative to others have little, but give extensively, some donate a service that we would otherwise pay significantly for as a part of their giving ministry,
These people should guard against some things: 1) giving to the point of creating an unmanageable burden upon personal finances. We are called to be good stewards of God’s money, and we are instructed to take care of our families or we are worse than an unbeliever. Usually this is not a problem, but some with the gift of giving are so selfless that they could go down this path. 2) Pride, self-righteousness that arises from our old man. There are a couple of temptations here, you could sound the trumpet before your giving, or you could feel like you are very spiritual because of the amount you give overestimating your importance, or you could feel that giving exempts you from other kinds of service. 3) The potential to attempt to control situations with money. The world operates this way, and sometimes you see people who give much trying to manipulate people or organizations by withholding funds, or by influencing others, or making threats related to money. The Lord will not bless you for this. 4) Giving too quickly to causes or people and being taken advantage of. Sometimes we enable people to continue poor financial practices by relieving the financial burden that they got themselves into. Also, some give to cause with poor leadership, or less than proper motives, and thus waste God’s money.