Summary: Sharing your God given gifts
1Peter 4: 7-11
By Jesse Crooks Southern Baptist Revivalist (Evangelist)
I usually end my testimony by challenging people to give their loaves and fish or their gifts. I never have time to really explain what I mean by giving one’s five loaves and two fish. I want to take some time and try to explain what I mean. Let me be clear, I’m not talking about so called “sign gifts.” I’ll leave those to others. I believe that one of the greatest needs of The Church today is for every Christian to use the gifts (talents) God gave them.
1. Every Christian has a gift.
Every Christian has at least one gift they can use in the Church and God’s Kingdom (see.Eph.4:7-13) When you invited Jesus into your heart, He brought with Him the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brought with Him at least one gift you can use for God’s Kingdom. (see. 1Cor 12:4-11) These gifts are for the building up of the body of The Church. There’s something every Christian can do in God's Church and His Kingdom. (Ills.) If I can do something, then you can. If I can go all over this state and climb in and out of pulpits and preach The Gospel, then don’t tell me you can’t do anything. (note: I was born with a physical handicap and a speech impediment)
No gift is to be valued or honored above another. The greater gifts are no more important than the so called lesser gifts. One who teaches or preaches is no more important than the one who unlocks the doors ever Sunday or the one who cleans the rest room.
The Apostle Paul compares the Church to the human body. (1 Cor. 12:14ff) For example, everybody wants to be the face. Even at 79 mine is not so bad. But who wants to be the big toe? (This is Jesse’s translation.) Mine is ugly, but try to walk without one. They tell me it would be hard walk without one. It’s there to benefit the body.
2. Not many of us are using our gifts.
Twenty percent of membership does eighty percent of the work in most churches. Some of you walked down the aisle and gave the preacher your hand and Jesus your heart. Then the preacher said, “have a seat’ and there you sat for fifteen or twenty years. You’ve never done one thing for Kingdom of God. You didn’t even know you were supposed to. Shame on you!
Others of you were once giving your gifts, you were working in God’s Kingdom, but you got your little feelings hurt, so you quit. If that’s the way they’re going to act, I’ll just quit. I’ll take my little sack lunch and go home. (John 6:9) Shame on you too! I hope the ants get it. May I say something to you? If you are in God’s Work to be appreciated, get out right now. Remember they crucified our Master.
I’ve heard older folks say, I’ve aged out. Let the younger folks do it. I would like to join this group. I just can’t find anything in the Bible about aging out. Where’s that text? When the Lord gets through with us, He’ll take us home! It’s a much better place, but I’m not ready to go just yet. I’m prepared, I’m just not ready.
3. What happens when we don't use our gifts?
We grieve the Holy Spirit. We have a friend, who brings us a gift every time she comes to our home for a visit. The kid in me gets all excited when I learn that she's coming. I want to see what she brings us. Suppose that she was visiting us one day and happened to open our closet door, and there were all the gifts she gave us still in the boxes and we had never open or used the first one. I am sure she would be hurt to know that we were not using what she had given us. I believe we grieve Holy Spirit when we fail to use His gifts.
We are forcing others to carry our load. You, understand that, when one part of your body doesn't work right it forces the other parts to do double the work. My right hip wore out from the way I walked all my life, and had to be replaced. I went Duke to have my surgery. My new hip never worked right. If I had gone to Carolina it probably would have worked. So, my left leg had to carry most of my weight. Later my left hip had to be replaced. It was worn out from carrying a double load. That's why I use the walkers.
Listen, when we refuse to us our gift, we cause other to carry their load and ours also. Folks don't complain to me about old so-and so having most of the important jobs in Church, if you refuse to take one. Often the reason one person has so many jobs is because so many of us won’t take one. If you think someone has too many important jobs in the Church, offer to take one. More than likely they will be glad to give you two or three.