Summary: Part 3 of three part series on Spiritual Gifts
Understanding and Unwrapping God’s Gifts To You
Romans 12:9-16 (Part 3 of 3)
There is an old fable about some animals that started a school. The school had classes in swimming, flying, and running. The duck was a good swimmer -- but had to drop swimming in order to practice running, at which he was not very good, and soon he was an average swimmer. The rabbit was the good one in running -- but broke his leg while trying to fly.
The eagle was the top one in flying class -- but became waterlogged when he tried to swim. By the end of the school term none of the animals were very good at anything. They had all tried to be something they were not -- and failed to develop their own God-given abilities.
There is a good moral behind the fable. All of us have strengths and weakness. It is important that we do not weaken our areas of strength in our zeal to strengthen our areas of weakness. Our challenge is to accept our uniqueness and develop it to its fullest potential.
You do not have to try to be like someone else. God made you just the way you are -- with your own particular combination of strengths and weaknesses. All He wants you to be is the best you can be.
First, determine what you can do to strengthen yourself spiritually. Then, determine what abilities you have that can be used in the work of the church. Now put them to work. Work on your strengths, not your weaknesses, and start today. God needs you just as you are, if you make up your mind to give Him your very best. (#523)
We saw last week, from Romans 12:3-8, that God has given each of us gifts, talents, and abilities to be used in our service for Him to those around us. We looked in detail at the seven functional (or service) gifts listed there: prophecy, service, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, and showing mercy. Remember that I said that probably any and every gift you or I have could be placed in one of these seven categories.
Today, we want to consider God’s instructions for using these gifts, and also spend some time seeing how we can discover and unwrap the gifts God has given us -- so we can employ them for building up the church -- the Body of Christ.
One Biblical principle we need to be aware of as we study is that “God does not give us work to do for Him without equipping us to do it.” In her book “The Hiding Place,” Corrie Ten Boom tells of the serenity that God blessed her and her sister with as they struggled to survive the hell of the concentration camps.
Their physical father afforded them strength, too. When asked if he had the grace to die, their father said no; it was not needed yet. He likened the need for power and grace to the need for a train ticket. The ticket is not needed until you get to the train station. In this same way, He believed, God rationed out His grace and power. When you need it, it is there, rarely before then. (#559)
In other words -- whatever God asks us to do -- or to endure -- He gives us the power to do. For example – if you feel God leading you to teach -- then He’ll provide the ability to do it (not without your study and effort, of course. His power doesn’t ever dispense with our responsibility).
Or, if you feel God leading you to speak to a friend about Christ -- then He’ll empower you to do it. You have to take the first step -- to show your willingness to be used, then God’s grace sustains and strengthens you.
God gives us these gifts to enable us to serve one another and to accomplish His purpose of redeeming mankind. Peter tells us: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1 Peter 4:10)
So, let’s begin by looking at …
1. GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING OUR GIFTS.
It’s in verses 9-15 of Romans 12. These verses obviously contain instructions and advice which every member of the Body of Christ should heed. But consider the possibility that these seven verses have a special significance and application to the seven gifts that Paul has just listed in verses 3-8, with verse 9 applying to the prophet, verse 10 to the servant, verse 11 to the teacher and so on.
For example, look at …
a. VERSE 9: “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Rom 12:9)