Episode 1. Rediscovering the Gift
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You know the problem with the gifts and abilities that God’s given us? You live with your special gift, I live with my special gift all day every day and so we don’t think that our gifts are …
Each one of us has something that we’re good at; something we enjoy doing; some God-given gift or ability that we just excel at. But all too often, it’s been buried under years of neglect. And so many, many people live their lives, without ever living out their dreams. But what if God never meant for that to happen?
Over the past week we’ve been chatting about rekindling the flame, the passion in our hearts for being about the business of God. The business that God’s left us here on earth for, His business, God’s business. Many, many Christians love Jesus and they want to follow Him but they’ve lost their way. Not so much because they don’t love the Lord but because the way they spend their lives and their resources and their time isn’t what God had intended.
What we believe and what we do are meant to be linked. That’s why faith without works is dead. What does that mean? It means that if we believe in something with all our hearts and yet we fail to live it out eventually what we believe will start to die and that’s what’s happening for many people who’ve set out on this journey of loving Jesus and following Him. Their faith has begun to die because they’ve lost focus on what they are meant to be doing.
Interesting how that strikes home, interesting how we sometimes focus on our faith and we forget about living it out and then wonder why our faith is dying. Why we feel like a rudderless ship on the ocean being tossed this way and that way.
Now, can I say that’s something that many people go through and so those who don’t believe in Jesus look at us and what they end up seeing is a hypocrite, what they see is someone who’s living out a disconnect between what they profess to be true and how they live. So this week we’re continuing on our journey of rekindling this flame.
And if you were able to join me last week on the program you’ll recall that what we’ve been doing is opening up the second letter that the wise old Apostle Paul wrote back in the 1st century to his young protégé Timothy. It seems that young Tim was having the same problem. Timothy was pastoring a Church and as anyone who’s ever tried to do that will tell you, that quite simply is not an easy job. It would be much easier without the people of course but I guess that wouldn’t be the point. And there are two verses in particular that really leapt out for me in what Paul was saying to Timothy. The first was 2 Timothy chapter 1, verse 6 where Paul says
For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands.
And then down to verse 14:
Guard the good treasure that has been entrusted to you with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
It comes back to this concept, that each one of us has been given a special gift or ability by God that’s been handcrafted into our DNA by God Himself and He’s done that with a purpose. In Timothy’s case that gift was preaching and teaching so I relate really well to what Paul’s saying to Timothy in this letter and clearly Timothy was finding the going tough as we’ll see over the course of this week.
He was facing quite a bit of stiff opposition from all sorts of different people and when things are tough it’s so easy to lose focus isn’t it? It’s so easy to forget that God’s given us this special gift that God means for us to exercise and to use this gift that Gods plans and purposes for this world and for the people around us and indeed for you and me are intricately linked to the exercising of that special gift or ability that God has given us.
Is that really true you might ask? Do I really have a gift and is it really important in the scheme of things for me to use them? My answer to that is absolutely you do and absolutely it is.
Today we’re going to journey off somewhere else to another of Paul’s letters, indeed his letters to the Roman Church and I want to share with you a passage that you may find familiar because while I was reading it the other day something leapt off the page for me and into my heart, something that I’d never seen before despite the fact that I’ve written a whole book that revolves around this passage. Have a listen to it, it’s Romans chapter 12 beginning at verse 4:
For as in one body we have many members and not all the members have the same function. So we who are many are one in the body of Christ and individually we are members of one another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us. Prophecy in proportion to faith, ministry in ministering, the teacher in teaching, the exalter in exaltation, the giver in generosity, the leader in diligence, the compassionate in cheerfulness. Let love be genuine and hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good, love one another with mutual affection, out do one another in showing honour, do not lag in zeal but be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Now what this is all about here is explaining how we as men, women and children who love Jesus should live together in fellowship and a community of faith. That’s how God changes us, that’s how God transforms us, in a community. Here He uses the analogy of the body of Christ but how does that community function?
Well, quite simply Paul’s saying, “Guys, we’re all different. One of you has been put here by God to speak His will into the community of faith, that’s what prophecy is all about. Another’s been put here to minister, to serve. Another to teach. Another to exalt or encourage. Another to give. Another to lead. Another to show compassion.”
You look at this list of seven gifts and it’s pretty comprehensive, it’s the way things are meant to be but that’s not so much the angle I want to come at this particular passage today. As I said I’ve written a whole book about this to help people locate their particular motivational gifting or as we might say today, their personality type. It’s called incidentally, that book, “My Personality GPS” and GPS being a locating device.
But will you please notice with me what Paul says that each of the people with these different gifts should do and we all have at least one of them in our make up. The prophet should do what? Prophecy according to his or her faith. The minister or server should do what? Minister. The teacher should? Teach. The leader should? Lead diligently. The giver should? Give generously. The one with compassion should show? Compassion with cheerfulness.
In other words God is saying here through Paul, “Would you please live out the gift that I’ve given you?” Do what God made you to do, do you see that? It’s right there in the text. God is commanding us to be, to live out who He made us to be. Why is it that so many people are unhappy? Well it’s this, it’s because they’re trying to be someone else, they’re trying to do things that they were never meant to do. And it’s by living out this one particular gift that we’ve been given that we end up showing genuine love and notice with me how Paul finishes off this particular passage.
Do not lag in zeal but be ardent in spirit and serve the Lord.
Be zealous, be ardent in using your particular gift to serve God. Why are so many of us finding it hard to live out our faith? Why have so many of us lost our passion? Why has the flame gone out in so many a Christ followers’ heart? Because we’ve stopped living out the gift that God gave us. It’s something we all struggle with; Timothy was struggling with it which is why Paul writes to him to remind him to rekindle the gift of God that is within him through the laying on of Paul’s hands.
And friend today I believe God is reminding me and God is reminding you, I don’t know what your circumstances are but I will bet a penny to a pound that there are so many things in your circumstances that are screaming at you that it’s not the right time to use your gift, that you’ve lost it, that you should do something else, that the comfortable job you’re in is what you should be doing.
Friend it is time to get back on focus, it is time to get back on purpose because Gods plan is to bring a lost and hurting world back to Him and that plan involves you using your special particular gift to be part of that. It includes your gifts and your abilities. Gods plan is to work through the person that He has made you to be, to share His mighty love with the people in your life. That my friend is the plan.