This morning I listened to a sermon about spiritual gifts in the church and the fact that we all have them. The preacher told us that we all have a part to play, and that we need to embrace our gifting in order accomplish what God has called us to do. This was a sermon that was particularly close to my heart, as I love to see people discover their gifts and start to use them.
I saw a picture, before the sermon, of a ship that was breaking the ice. A strong ship that is sent out to break the ice so that the smaller ships can pass through unscathed. This is what God is calling us all to do with our gifts. When we use our gifts, they encourage and bless others as well as ourselves. We can never use up our gifts, in fact the more we use them, the stronger they become!
Unfortunately, there was another picture too, this one not so positive. I saw a picture of a person in a prison cell, locked away from using their gifts. The thing about the person in the cell, was that they had the key. Yes, locked in a cell with the cell key. Sounds wrong but that is what I saw. I think that this picture refers to a lot of Christians who stop themselves from discovering their gifts, although they are desperate to have a gift and use it. Let me explain.
I would never have discovered that I have the gift of prophesy if I never decided to give the first word. I had never even considered it until I was asked if I had ever given a prophetic word before. When I said that I hadn’t, I was asked to give one. I could have run away at that point, or made some excuses, or said that I couldn’t, but I didn’t. I gave it a go. The person who I gave the word to said that it rang true with them and that they were blessed by it! I was thrilled! Since then I have given hundreds of words, and I know that it is a gift from God for me to bless others but I get blessed too just by using it! This is what God does, everyone is blessed if we listen to God and be obedient.
These gifts take practise, they don’t just happen over night. David Beckham didn’t wake up one morning and discover that he could take an amazing free kick, that took years of practise (combined with a natural talent). Now the natural talent part is like the gift, but we still have to provide the practise part. If you never try and kick a ball, how will you know if you can or not? It is the same with spiritual gifts, if you never try, how do you know if you can?
Some of us sit in our prison cells looking out at others who are practising their gifts, and wonder when we will get to practise ours. Meanwhile, we have the key in our hands. Unlock the door, open it and give it a go! People say that they can’t use their gift because they don’t know what it is. Well, either do a spiritual gifts test to see what yours is, or try them all. Parents tend to sign their kids up for just about every sport and extra curricular event in order to find out what they enjoy and are good at. Why don’t we do the same for ourselves with our spiritual lives? Give them all a try, see what you are passionate about and what you seem to be good at. That will help you to establish where your gifting lies.
As much as I love to minister to people, I don’t ever want to be selfish with my gifts. I want to see us all walking in the Spirit and using our gifts to the maximum, imagine what we could accomplish! In the business world people often tend to keep skills to themselves in order to have the edge. One thing I love about the Kingdom of God is that it works just the opposite to that. Give it away and you will never be without!
Get out of your cell, find your gift, and get going!