Summary: One source of frustration in the church is that people are trying to do the wrong ministry, play the wrong instrument. That is tragic. But do you know what is even worse than that is having your instrument, but refusing to play it.
Let’s open our Bibles together to Romans, chapter 12. Today I’m going to be talking about “Unwrapping Your Spiritual Gift,” so I have a little gift that I am going to be unwrapping in a moment.
I’m preaching through the book of Romans, verse after verse, and last week we talked about how every Christian is a part of the body of Christ, both the universal body of Christ, and also this local body of Christ. You are a member, a unique, special member of the body. You are very valuable to God and in order to show how valuable you are, God has given you a special gift. He has given every one of us a special gift.
It is Father’s Day today and if you have not yet bought your Father’s Day gift for your father, you might want to consider something that Neiman-Marcus is offering for Father’s Day. At Neiman-Marcus you can buy a NASCAR racecar. If you feel the need for speed, this truly remarkable NASCAR Winston Cup Ford Taurus is the real deal. It is not a show car; it is a racecar Roush Racing built that has been driven by Mark Martin in Winston Cup competition. What do you think this car is worth? It is a used Ford Taurus. It doesn’t have power windows. In fact, it doesn’t have windows at all; it just has a net. It doesn’t have eight-way power seats; all it has is one uncomfortable bucket seat, bolted down. It gets five miles per gallon. It doesn’t have air conditioning, but it has plenty of heat. The gas tank takes up most of the trunk. It doesn’t have alloy wheels. In fact, its tires do not have any tread.
Somebody looked up what a used Ford Taurus, without those options, would run for in Kelly’s Blue Book of car prices and about $14,000 is the most you could get for that. What do you think Neiman-Marcus is selling that car for? $14,000? No. $125,000. That’s what you can buy it for. You say, “Well, what makes that car so valuable?” It is because it is not an ordinary Ford Taurus. It was designed and built for a special purpose and that is for NASCAR racing. And really, the same can be said of every one of you. God designed you, built you and equipped you for a special job within the body of Christ and that is what makes you valuable. You are not some ordinary Ford Taurus. You are a special, unique design by God.
Sometimes people do not think they are very valuable or worth very much. I read recently in the Wall Street Journal that the average savings account for Americans is only $83.42. You can see how you measure up. But, before you feel kind of poor, I want you to remember that if you only have $83.42, you are still $4.6 trillion richer than the U.S. Government because that is how far in debt they really are. We are valuable; we have worth and meaning before God.
To show how valuable you are, God has gifted you. He has given you some spiritual gifts and that is what we are going to talk about today. Romans 12:6-8 says we have different gifts. Gifts is the word “charisma,” just like our English word charisma. Every Christian ought to be a charismatic Christian in the true sense of the word meaning “gifted.” We have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern or lead diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
Now when it comes to spiritual gifts, there is sort of a wide range of understanding. Many of you in this room right now understand about spiritual gifts. You probably even know what your spiritual gifts are and you are using them, but for some of you, spiritual gifts is going to be a totally new topic to you. So, for that reason, I’m going to be very basic this morning.
I. A DEFINITION OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS
First of all, let’s talk about the definition of spiritual gifts. Then number two, the description of these seven gifts mentioned in Romans 12 and then number three, the discovery of your spiritual gifts. If you were to ask me to define what a spiritual gift is, I would say this, it is:
1. A God-given capacity to serve the Lord
I could use the word “ability,” but I think “capacity” is better because it means you have the potential ability. You have the capacity to do some kind of special service for the Lord. It is a supernatural endowment to do something within the body of Christ.