WARNING: This by far was the longest and most challenging blog post to write but I felt Spirit led to share this message God so passionately put on my heart. Someone, somewhere desperately needs this message of encouragement and I pray it reaches who God intends for it to. Thank you in advance for reading!
Spring cleaning time! And if you’re anything like me then this is the season that you find things you didn’t know you had. You’re opening bins, looking under the bed, going through closets. “Toss this”, you say….. “Keep that”, you mumble…. “Burn all of these” you scream…….All in the hopes of having a cleaner and more organized place. *Aahhh, so refreshing.
Confession: last Spring while cleaning, I found a beautifully wrapped Christmas present that I had failed to do what? —- UNWRAP. When I finally unwrapped the gift, it just so happened to be something that I’d been wanting and had actually went out and purchased weeks prior (thank you Godmother for my gift!). Anyway, I was so angry with myself. How could I have been so busy, so forgetful, so lazy that I didn’t unwrap my gift.
Many of us are walking around every day doing what I failed to do in that scenario– unwrapping our gifts. No, I’m not referring to actual tangible gifts. I’m referring to our God-given spiritual gifts—the best gifts of them all!
The Bible mentions talents and gifts in many different books. In the Book of Matthew, we learn an important lesson regarding what TO DO and what NOT TO DO with our talents. While in 1 Corinthians and Romans, we are taught how the Spirit divides and distributes gifts among Christians for the work of the Church.
In today’s society, we often use talents and gifts interchangeably. However, upon closer study, they actually can be quite different. Let’s take a closer look at talents and gifts, shall we?
Talents are considered to be natural abilities. You may know someone who is an amazing athlete or artist. Either genetics, environment, teachings, or natural curiosity and development have contributed to this person having this particular talent. There’s a great parable in the Bible regarding talents. Matthew Chapter 25 recounts that there was a property owner who entrusted his servants with talents before he went on a journey. He divided the talents up as such:
- 1 servant= 5 talents
- 1 servant= 2 talents
- 1 servant = 1 talent
The parable continues to say that when the property owner returned from his journey, he discovered what had become of the talents he entrusted to the servants. Here’s what he found out:
- The servant with 5 talents had taken his gifts and doubled them
- The servant with 2 talents had taken his gifts and doubled them
- The servant with 1 talent had taken his 1 talent and buried it
The master was pleased with the first two servants above. His reply to them when he was presented with the talents they multiplied was: “Well done my good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things” (Matthew 25: 21)
You may be wondering what his reply to the other servant was. The servant who had been trusted with one talent but BURIED the talent… To that servant, the master said this: “At my coming I should have received what was my own with interest”. He then told that servant who had buried his talent to give that one talent that had been buried to one of the other servants. He said a lot of other not so nice things to that servant (that I dare not repeat on this blog) but please check out Matthew 25 if you want to read more!
“With interest”? What exactly could the master have meant by “with interest” in this context? MORE. He was referring to having a gain or having more.
What MORE could we be doing with our talents for the kingdom of God? How can we add to the Church? How can we gain more souls? How can we lead more people to Christ? There’s always more glory, more worship, more praise to be gathered. Hmmm, I think it’s safe to say that we all could be using our talents, our natural abilities, for MORE.
Gifts are supernatural God given abilities. 1 Corinthians Chapter 12 speaks in detail of such gifts. It reads as follows:
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” (1 Corinthians 12: 4-11)
Whew! Lol. That’s a lot of gift giving, God. We are so grateful for them all!
The unfortunate thing that comes to mind when I think of these wonderful gifts (that are intended to be used for the purposes of ministry) is how often gifts lay dormant inside of us— completely UNWRAPPED. We have these beautiful God-given gifts inside of us but often times we fail to identify, activate, and operate in them.
This was me! Through the years, I kept asking God what my purpose was. I even bought and read the book “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren (which I love by the way!) but all the books in the world couldn’t help me learn something that I already had inside of me.
Let me tell you, since I have realized and began using my gift, I have found power, joy, and oh so much peace. You can have this too! All you need to do is
- IDENTIFY your gift
- ACTIVATE your gift
- OPERATE in your gift
I like analogies so here’s one to help you understand this process (because it is a process) of using your gifts. A flashlight is a flashlight all day long. It doesn’t change. However, you have to identify what it is and what it can be used for before it can do any good, right? Also, a flashlight doesn’t do much good unless it has batteries and is turned on, right? The flashlight has to be activated! Lastly, imagine how silly I would look holding a flashlight backwards or pointing it into the wrong direction of where I needed light. I need to know how and when to operate the flashlight or else what is its purpose?
If you’re struggling with the idea of spiritual gifts inside of you, here are 5 questions that you can ask yourself as you try to identify, activate, and operate in your gifts?
- What do I like to do?
- What am I good at? What do other people always tell me I’m good at?
- What comes relatively easy to me that may not come easy to others?
- What do I have or what can I do that can bring glory to God?
- Is there a need in my community or Church that I continue to see but I don’t do anything about?
I once heard someone say “Don’t leave this Earth letting everyone use you but God”. Wow, that’s pretty powerful advice. Let us allow God to use us through our talents and gifts for His glory. Trust that the world can and will be a better place if we do.
1 Peter 4:10 writes: “Each of you should use whatever GIFT you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of Gods’ grace in its various forms.”
So whatever your gift is, don’t forget to unwrap it. I repeat, don’t forget to unwrap your gift. Then, once you unwrap it, please use it for God’s glory.
May your eyes, your head, and your spirit always BE LIFTED.
Want to take an assessment to help you identify what your spiritual gift(s) may be?
*Click here for an amazing Spiritual Gifts Assessment offered by the The Rock Church in San Diego, California.
*Click here for a great Spiritual Gifts Survey offered by Lifeway Christian Resources.
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