Summary: Don’t overestimate yourself and don’t underestimate yourself either. Just use your God-given gifts to serve.
Just a few years ago, Dave Barry, a columnist for the Washington Post, posted his comments about the typical male in the first week of December. He wrote, “Your standard man, at this point in the Christmas season, has purchased zero gifts. He has not yet gotten around to purchasing an acceptable gift for his wife for last Christmas. He did give her something last year, but he could tell by her reaction to it that she had not been dreaming of getting an auto emergency kit, even though it was the deluxe model with booster cables and an air compressor. Clearly this gift violated an important rule, but the man had no idea what this rule was, and his wife was too upset to tell him.” (Dave Barry, “Your Gift Is in the Male,” Washington Post, December 7, 2004)
Sometimes, at Christmas, we get gifts we don’t really appreciate. But there is Someone who knows exactly what we need, and He delights in giving us good gifts. That One, of course, is the Lord. He is one God who exists in three separate and distinct persons, and each person in this Holy Trinity has a gift for you this Christmas. They are gifts you can really appreciate if you choose to accept them. And in these three Sunday’s before Christmas, I want us to explore each of their gifts.
Romans 12:6-8 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (ESV)
These, of course, are the spiritual gifts, which 1 Corinthians 12:11 says, “The Holy Spirit gives to each one, just as he determines” (NIV). Spiritual gifts are supernatural abilities that the Holy Spirit gives to each and every believer, so they can serve His church. None of us, who have trusted Christ, are without such a gift. All of us have received this supernatural ability to serve. Every single believer, from the youngest child to the oldest adult, can serve in some way to effectively advance the cause of Christ in this world through His church.
That’s the gift the Holy Spirit gives to every believer, but so few believers appreciate or utilize this gift to its fullest. How about you? Do you want to utilize your spiritual gift to the fullest? Do you want God to use you to effectively advance the cause of Christ? Do you want to employ the Spirit’s wonderful gift to see people come to faith in Christ and to help His church grow? Then backup a few verses in the text to find out how you can use your spiritual gift fully and effectively to the glory of God. You’re in Romans 12. Look at verse 3.
Romans 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (ESV)
There are some people who think they are God’s gift to the church. They overestimate their own importance and skills, but if you’re going to utilize the Holy Spirit’s gift effectively, don’t do that.
DON’T OVERESTIMATE YOURSELF.
Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought.
Don’t be like the Pufferfish, which blow themselves up to seem bigger than they normally are. They do this to discourage potential predators. Some people call them “blowfish”, because these clumsy swimmers fill their elastic stomachs with huge amounts of water (and sometimes air) to blow themselves up to several times their normal size.
Additionally, most pufferfish contain a toxic substance that makes them foul tasting and potentially deadly to other fish. The toxin is deadly to humans – 1,200 times more deadly than cyanide. There is enough poison in one pufferfish to kill 30 adult humans, and there is no known antidote. ("Pufferfish," National Geographic Kids; https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/ pufferfish/#pufferfish-inflated-closeup.jpg; www.Preaching Today.com)
Pride does the same thing to people. It blows them up to make them look bigger than they are, and it is toxic to a marriage, a friendship, and even to the church. So don’t overestimate yourself. Don’t blow yourself up to seem more important than you really are. Otherwise, the forward progress of the church comes to a grinding halt.
A sea captain and his chief engineer were arguing over who was most important to the ship. To prove their point to each other, they decided to swap places. The chief engineer went up to the bridge, and the captain went down to the engine room.