“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:4)
I have found, in my short life, that there are basically 3 kinds of people in every church. There are those who make things happen. Then there are those who watch things happen. And then there are those who don’t even know anything is happening. And honestly, I think most of us are in that middle group. We are watchers. We are observers. But we have never really gone to work. And this is truly bothersome to me because the sad thing is that there is so much unconcern on the part of many of us who name the name of Christ.
We sit in our services and listen to messages, and we go out and we never, ever really get involved. A wise man said, “The average church is like those people at a football game. Down there on the field are 22 men desperately in need of rest. And up in the stands are 50,000 people desperately in need of exercise.”
I think that is probably the way it is in most churches. But God has called you to serve Him and God has equipped you to serve Him. And the way that God has equipped you to serve Him is this: God has given to you a spiritual gift. And you are to take it, discover it, develop it, and deploy it for Christ.
We ought to be serving in an area that we are gifted in and passionate about. How painful is it to watch the first few episodes of American Idol? Don’t you feel like those people have been deceived and no one loves them? Because we think, “Surely if someone loved them they would have said, “No way, son. You are going to be on one of those first few shows! For our sake, for the family name, please don’t go!” Now, I can say that because I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. I know that and I am ok with that!
But we see this all the time. It is the same way in the church. That is why we have to get everyone serving in their area of giftedness. So ultimately you are being gifted by God. I’m not saying that you don’t grow in your gifts. I’m not saying that you don’t work on your gifts.
Now, some of you sit here and you say, “Well, I don’t know what my gifts are, Mark. I have no idea where I’m gifted. I think it may be this or that. I think I might be the American Idol kid. Help me.”
Here is how you figure out your gifts. Figuring out your gifts is a community project. We find out our gifts by doing life together. Because when we are doing life together, we can spot and say, “Hey, do you realize you are really good at this?” As you interact with people, you’ll find yourself going, “Oh yeah, well the Bible says this about that,” and you begin to see that you might be a teacher.
The point is, you must discover your gift. But it can’t stop there. You have to deploy your gift. Put it to work. Why? Every one of the gifts that we have was complete and perfect in Christ and He gives us, as members, these various gifts that we might be built up to the fullness of Christ. Every single gift given to the church was a characteristic of Jesus Christ. And so, the only way you will ever be that full stature man in Christ, is when you have all those gifts being ministered to you.
That is why you must deploy your gifts. That is why I must minister my gift to you, because as I minister my gift to you it builds you up in that area. If I minister to you in the gift of preaching maybe you will never have the gift of preaching. But you’ll learn just from my ministering to you how to communicate at a better level. And so, I have built you up in that way.
And that is why 90% of my week is spent in preparation. I don’t have all the gifts. You don’t have all the gifts. Maybe your gift is showing mercy and you minister that gift to me and I learn a little more how to show mercy. And I’m built up in that area and pretty soon every member ministers to each other we’re all built up as individuals to be like Christ and show forth all his attributes and then collectively as a body we manifest a total person of Christ.
So you see that every spiritual gift was taken from the nature of Christ. And I will be totally honest with you. And this is why I want to take my gift very seriously and give my life to it. Personally, I would not want the responsibility of being the crippler of the body of Christ. No thank you. I want to operate my gift. And by your constant ministry to me, I will be built up in my weaker areas, my non-gift areas.
I may never have the gift that you have, but I’ll be built up in that area because of the ministry of your gift in that area to me. So your ministry of gifts holds me up and builds me up. And my ministry to you builds you up. You may not have the gifts that I have, but my gifts can build you up in that area. So we are both strong and healthy when we minister to each other. Let’s be the Body of Christ!