Gifts That Keep on Giving

God has blessed us in so many wonderful ways. We are reminded by James that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (cf. James 1:17) Similarly, the Apostle Peter points out that God has “given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (cf. 2 Peter 1:3) In regards to the blessings we have received Peter had previously counseled that we should “use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (cf. 1 Peter 4: 10)

Whether we are considering the material blessings God has lavished upon us or the abundance of spiritual blessings we have in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), we are blessed in so many wonderful ways! Additionally, we are told in the Scriptures that “in His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.” (cf. Romans 12:6, NLT)

This is, in my estimation, one of the most exciting things about this discussion. God blesses us in order that we might be a blessing to others. God blesses us in special ways in order that we my do certain things well and be a special blessing to others. It is in this way that the gifts God bestows on us are gifts that keep on giving.

Each time we consider this topic there are two questions that seem to demand an answer:

1) How do I discover my area of giftedness?
2) How do I deploy my giftedness to serve God and bless others?

It is my belief that Romans 12:1-8 provides needed insight and answers to these questions. First, let’s look at these verses and make some observations about them. We will then consider five practical suggestions for developing and deploying our giftedness to serve God and bless others.

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Observations: Paul’s inspired exhortations contained in this text:

— In view of the sacrifices made for each one of you, be a living and holy sacrifice.

— Let God change the way you think, so that your life will be shaped by His will for you.

— Be honest in your assessments of yourselves, letting faith be your standard.

— Be a participating member of Christ’s body, because your God-given, specialized function is intended to benefit the whole.

— Be confident that God has gifted you for doing certain things well.

— Be what you are called to be by doing what you are gifted to do.

Some practical suggestions regarding discovering and deploying your giftedness:

1) Pray earnestly to God…
“…your will be done…”

2) Listen to your heart…
…responding the calls for servants and pleas for assistance that resonate there.

3) Explore the possibilities…
…by saying “Yes” to things that might seem outside of your comfort zone.

4) Consult with those who know you…
…allowing them to help you make an honest evaluation of your giftedness.

5) Expect God to open new and different doors for you as you mature in the Lord.

An Example:

In the end we can be what we are called to be by doing what we are gifted to do! After I preached this message yesterday morning, one of the members handed me a copy of a letter that really illustrates this point. You must understand that this man is truly one of the most sweet-spirited and humble-minded Christians I have ever met. While I have his permission to share this with you, I have chosen to shield the identity of the school and student. Take a look at this and see if you don’t agree that it underscores the truth that we are being what we are called to be when we are doing what we are gifted to do.

Dear School Official:

It’s not often that we get to express our gratitude to those who have touched our lives in a positive way. I cannot believe that I finally graduated last June after attending XYZ School for nine years. I’m taking this opportunity to let you know how the teachers there have provided the solid foundation on which I will build my future. While all the teachers have influenced my life, one made a strong impact on me. This teacher that I am referring to is Mr. Lewis.

When I was in the seventh grade, eight of my classmates and I were placed in an advanced math course. It was in this course that I met Mr. Lewis. Mr. Lewis was a 72 year old man who had the drive and attitude of a 25 year old. It was this quality that impressed me most. One some days, if the class finished the lesson early he would tell us an amazing anecdote. There was never a class with Mr. Lewis where we didn’t learn something new and interesting.

Presently, I attend XYZ High School. I attribute me success in my high school math courses to the skills and work ethic that I learned from Mr. Lewis. I thank you for your insight in hiring teachers like Mr. Lewis.

Yours truly,

Signed by the student

Indeed, we are being what we are called to be when we are doing what we are gifted to do.

— If you would like to listen to an audio version of this lesson click HERE.

— Two view the companion PowerPoint presentation click HERE.

© Bill Williams
June 4, 2007

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Christian Living, Following Jesus, Giftedness, LifeShapes, Podcast, Preaching Notes. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Gifts That Keep on Giving

  1. Greg England says:

    Bill, I may be way off base on this opinion, but over the years I’ve found that gift discovery seems to be foreign to the Scriptural way of giftedness. The inventories we take to discover our gifts seem to basically reveal what we like, prefer, or enjoy doing. It’s more of a talent discovery. In the Bible I find people often gifted for things they have no desire to do! Moses is a good example. Seems God calls a person for a task or ministry and then gives that person the giftedness needed. (Is this Henry Blackaby revisited? Haven’t read him in years, but it may be.) Anyway … we spend a lot of time determining our giftedness rather than actually submitting to God’s leading and accepting his gifts. Just my opinion … probably a worthless one at that, and in no way meant to be critical of your article! Have I told you I’m glad you’re back?!

    Excellent thoughts, Greg. In my estimation, you are right on target. You’ll notice that I didn’t include links to any of the many giftedness inventories. While I think there can be limited value in looking at these from time-to-time, the primary weekness, IMO, has to do with the fact that they suggest that we can take a huge shortcut along the road to discovering God’s plans for our lives, which is only realized as we walk by faith, step-by-step, day-by-day. Thanks for you input!

  2. Bill,
    I would greatly appreciate your wisdom and comment on the subject of the temple curtain at my blog:
    http://thywordistruth.wordpress.com/2007/06/05/the-temple-curtain/
    I apologize in advance for being off topic in response to your post. Concerning your post by the way, God has and continues to bless me in ways I’ll never deserve. I plan on reading you post tonight with my wife.
    God bless,
    Jim Richardson
    P.S.: Feel free to link to my site if you find it worthy of doing so.

    Hello, Jim. No problem at all! I visited your blog and commented on this post. You raise some interesting questions. This whole era of history has fascinated me for some time now. Hope you get some good feedback on this. -bill

  3. Dee Andrews says:

    Very good post, Bill, and very interesting comments by Greg, too. I’m not so sure about all of this now and this is why. In my own personal experience, as a young Christian I was led to believe that I should be doing certain things in service whether I wanted to do them or not or had a talent for them. It was very stultifying to me and really caused a lot of resentment on my part because I was doing things that I was really not suited for.
    I eventually learned and came to the understanding and conclusion that my talents or gifts or whatever were in a totally different direction than in a lot of things I’d been doing out of conceding to others. Or maybe I changed a lot, I don’t know.
    But I know this – now I feel like I have been given certain abilities and talents and even gifts by God that are suited and tailored just for me and I use them to my utmost ability and am very happy in doing so.
    I don’t know . . . maybe I’m saying the very same thing that Greg is and that you are, Bill, but just coming from another angle still. In reading back over what I’ve just written, I think that is true.
    Anyway – it’s a good post with a lot of thought provoking ideas (obviously!).
    Dee

    Your experience is likely very similar to that of many people I have known, Dee. My sense is that is precisely what keeps thoughtful people like Greg from jumping on the “giftedness bandwagon”. I don’t deny your experience, but would suggest that the real problem lies in another area. To be specific: I’m of the opinion that the root cause of your discomfort in this area has to do with the pervasiveness of procrusteanism. If I have time over the next couple of days, I’ll write a few lines about this. -bill

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