Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Stir up the gift!

Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant...
1 Cor 12:1

It was an important thing to do, to devote these weeks to the study of spiritual gifts. They are important, not something that we should be ignorant about. Learning about them is not a struggle, especially with Pastor Ed's excellent materials. Being able to point out the manifestations of the Spirit's gifts in each other, that too is not a hard thing to do. But this week, we come to the end of the road, we take the "test" and find out, each of us, what gifts we have. Not that there is magic in this test, it is just a tool to point to a truth, something God has planted in each of us, long ago.

What remains is what Paul urges Timothy to do, in his last letter from prison. His final words, include this exhortation to his spiritual son,

... when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you... Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began...

2 Tim 1:5-9

Because of Timothy's genuine faith, he has received spiritual gifts, that God confirmed to Timothy by his brothers in Christ. They confirmed them and prayed for him, laying on of hands.

But using our gifts in ministry is a scary thing. Mostly because our gifts call us to do what we cannot do in ourselves, in our own capabilities and power. This favorite verse, 2 Tim 1:6, is not about having no fear to do whatever we would like, it is about the having the courage to use the gifts God has given to us, the courage to do His will, to choose His way, when to go our own way seems more sensible, more reasonable, more safe.

But through the power of the Spirit, we have the courage to choose His ways, the power to accomplish His will and the sound mind to know His righteousness is best.

Before the world began, He had planned to save us, and not ONLY save us, but to use us in His plan to save the world and to call the world to Himself. He has called us to be His witnesses, His hands to serve, His feet to go, His arms to hold, His voice to comfort, His ears to hear, His heart to love.

We are called to be Jesus with skin on. He has no plan B. Even though He knows better than we do ourselves, how broken and weak we are, He delights to use us. Us!

So stir up, girls, the gift of God which is in you! Identify it! Practice it! Train it! Use it! Delight Him! Delight your friends, family and neighbors with service that is divine! Delight yourselves as you see Christ in you, the hope of glory!

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good...
1 Cor 12:4

No comments: