"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Using Our Gifts (1 Peter 4:10-11)

In small group this week, I'd like for us to take some time to discuss how we might apply Peter's teaching in chapter 4, verses 10 & 11; "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ..."

The idea of spiritual gifts, used to further the kingdom of God, is also found in both Romans 12 and 1st Corinthians 12.  Scripture tells us that every believer is granted a gift(s), and as evidence of our faith, should be eager to employ that gift at all times.  In short, we are each fully equipped to share the love of Christ by way of serving, teaching, giving, leading, showing mercy, providing encouragement, offering wisdom or vision. As we rely on these gifts, rather than ourselves, God will be glorified and others will be drawn to Him. 

I think that often we make this way too complicated.  We take tests, we stress over what our gift actually is, we feel guilty for not stepping into every gift, on and on.  I believe that the Holy Spirit has unleashed that gift in us and if we are truly seeking to be of service, and are genuinely willing to use it to touch this world, it will be revealed.  One approach is to consider the intersection between your greatest passion and your greatest opportunity to "speak to" and "serve" (verse 11 above) others. BAM! Head on collision with what is likely your gift discovery moment.  Embrace it and start serving.

For me, I love teaching.  I love running.  I love encouraging those around me.  I may not be great at any of these, and that's okay. I firmly believe that I am led to serve through these various gifts and can be used just as I am. Yes, I know, "running" is not exactly on the original list, but that's not the point. It's a means to an end.  One of my interests, if offered in a way that allows me to utilize a spiritual gift, is in itself divinely granted. I really believe that.  The thing is, I also believe that it may not always be running. If it consumes me, or if I am no longer physically able, or if greater passions and relationship avenues arise, then it will change. However, the responsibility to teach and encourage others is not going anywhere. They are the gifts that keep on giving. 

Thank you Lord for giving us all an opportunity to serve you and others through special talents and spiritual gifts.  We pray that we will not waste them.

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