Responsibilities of the Church Day 11 – Develop Spiritual Gifts
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11, ESV)
The movie Christmas Vacation is a popular pick around the holiday season. The television version is certainly more family friendly, but there is a scene from the movie that always puzzles me. Clark climbs into a freezing cold attic to hide a Christmas gift for his wife. While he’s feeling around for the perfect hiding place, he discovers a few dust-caked gifts he had hidden years before, unwrapped and useless in their current state. I always wondered how, when gathered to open gifts as a family on Christmas morning, you could forget a gift—what did his wife even open?
But that scene came to me today as I went to prepare this article. What good were those gifts in Clark’s attic? They were useless. Why? Because they were not opened or received. They had been purchased, but the giver forgot to give them to the intended receiver. When it comes to spiritual gifts, our Giver has not forgotten to give them to us, but oftentimes we fail to “open” these gifts and use them. What a waste!
We are currently studying 1 Corinthians 12 in our Bible study at church. It’s been interesting to hear thoughts on spiritual gifts. How do we know which ones we’ve been given? Do we have only one, or do some people receive several? How do individual responsibilities and the exercising of our gifts differ? What is the church’s role in all of this?
We may not immediately know at conversion which spiritual gifts God has given us. But as we begin to actively plug in to the duties and work of our local church, our gifts will begin to develop and, in time, others will be able to help us recognize what gifts God has given us. Those in the church can help us learn what our own unique gifts are by involving us and encouraging us. What skills do we have or what areas do we feel most comfortable in? These are often a signal that we are working within our gifts. Maybe your area is in having people over for a meal (hospitality). Maybe it’s in ministering the Word (teaching). Or it might be that you’re someone who is great at saying kind and helpful things to other believers (encouragement).
As we pray for guidance that God would reveal His gifts to us, we can also lean on the church to help us gain clarity. Whatever it is that God has given us, we want to use our gifts and thank Him for His graciousness and generosity. How kind that He gives us gifts, and how foolish and unloving it would be for us to disregard them and not seek to develop and use them for His glory and the benefit of the church.
If you’re not sure what gifts you’ve been given, ask someone with whom you worship. Your church family should be able to help you in this by encouraging you to use and develop them, and appreciate you for your willingness to exercise them. We should also be willing to look for gifts in others and not be consumed with ourselves. Think of a few people in your local church, identify areas in which they show gift, and let them know. How wonderful it is to hear others appreciate the gift(s) God has given you.
When we all use our gifts as God intended, our church will grow and thrive. The church has many needs and we have been given various gifts for a reason. How wise and knowledgeable God is, knowing that by fitting us uniquely with His good gifts the church as a whole functions so much better! That’s the goal. May we each be willing to discover our gifts, develop them for the good of the Body of Christ, and then help encourage their growth in our own local church family.