This week's devotional is from Pastor Art Greco.
“God does not make unfunded mandates.” In other words, he would never order his servants to accomplish a challenge without also providing the means of accomplishing it.
That was the primary point of Sunday’s message introducing the concept of spiritual gifts as we continued our journey toward deeper understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus caused a few jaws to drop when he left his final challenge to the church just before ascending into heaven, “Now go into all the world and made Christian disciples of every tongue and people-group in the world, teaching them everything that I have taught you."
Can you imagine the collective (if unspoken) response? “Did he really just say what I thought I heard him say? He can’t be serious.” Perhaps his next words were initially lost to the incredulity of his followers’ response, “And listen … I will be with you always, even to the very ends of the earth.” … words that were soon to be remembered and even proven true by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit."
When we think about it logically, though, incredulity is a fair reaction to a seemingly unattainable commission … unless the one who charges us with it also gives us everything we need to accomplish it. And that, as we were reminded on Sunday, is where the Holy Spirit (and the gifting he offers the church) comes in. God has not only commanded us to do the impossible, he has also given us the TOOLS to do the impossible. He’s equipped us with spiritual gifts – talents and abilities that are either newly ignited or newly deposited in us as a result of our decision to follow Jesus and be led by his spirit.
Read Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4, noting the following as you read:
- Familiarize yourself with the broader context of each passage.
- As you read the gifts mentioned in these texts, think of someone you know that you might nominate to be “the faces” of some of them.
- Identify any of these listed gifts as either abilities you already have or wish you could have.
- Pray. Thank God for how he has equipped you or ask him, if it be his will, to gift you in the ways you wish you could contribute to his people and his cause.
BE A BLESSING
As you’re aware of something at which you excel (even if you’re not necessarily identifying it specifically as a spiritual gift), think of someone you know (whether in the church or not) that could benefit from what comes so naturally to you. Pray for them, then use that gift or ability to somehow help them or brighten their day.
According to Ephesians 4:12-13, I Corinthians 12:4-7, and I Peter 4:10-11, a primary purpose of spiritual gifts has to do with lifting up, equipping, and encouraging the body of Christ. As you gather for worship over the next two Sundays, ask God to give you a deeper sense of your best investment in the church you love and/or the people you see in worship. As you feel comfortable (or almost comfortable) take a shot at expressing that gift to someone.
Sound like an impossibility for you? Well, that’s part of the point, isn’t it?