Christian Spiritual Gifts
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Christian Spiritual Gifts
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Serve Christ Better

pathway signThe service of Christ can be the pathway to fulfillment in life. The great medical missionary, theologian, and musician Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) wrote, "I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know, the only ones among you who will be happy are those who have sought and found how to serve." Some people try good works as a substitute for loyalty to Christ. Serving Christ properly belongs within the Body of Christ, but not as a way of entering it. Works alone lead us away from God whereas service leads us towards him.✞

Pathway to Fulfillment

Blue Bird"A spiritual gift" is defined by "The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church" as "an endowment given by the Holy Spirit." Throughout history, there were supernatural graces which individual Christians needed and in the days of the Apostles to fulfill the mission of the church. Christians were called upon to search out and exercise their "spiritual gifts." and also to use their ministries to bless others and to glorify God. The words "spiritual gifts" comes from the Greek word "charismata" and the singular "charism." "Use what talents you possess," urged Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933), the American author and educator, "the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Others, therefore, benefit when we used our spiritual gifts and talents. All gifts are bounteously, generously and freely given by a kindly God but they are like folded flags in our Christian lives until we unfurl them for his use. Christian fulfillment and true happiness result from exploring and exercising our spiritual gifts.

Christian Body Gifts

DandelionHow to discover, develop and use the Christian Body gifts you have been given for the glory of God and the benefit of others. Christian spiritual gifts, as well as talents, are given by God to members of the Body of Christ so that they may serve Christ and others better. In the Body of Christ, all are granted at least one of the twenty-five or so Christian gifts described and listed in different parts of the New Testament. There were seven gifts listed in Romans 12.6-8, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully." There were also nine spiritual gifts listed by Saint Paul in 1 Corinthians 12.8-10, "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." "Different kinds of tongues" man be translated equally as "different kinds of languages." There were also two gifts mentioned in 1 Peter 4.11, "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. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen." There were in all eighteen New Testament spiritual gifts listed in three Biblical passages. I believe that every committed Christian is given at least one gift, though not necessarily the same as other Christians. Some may and certainly do have several or many gifts but not all. There are probably other gifts which God gave as they are needed. I think of Peter walking on water to meet Jesus. Was this a gift that Jesus gave? Some people do not feel that they have any of these gifts and others feel they have many. For those who think they have none consider a plant found everywhere. Its leaves can be eaten in salads, cooked and consumed like spinach. Properly dried, it brews to a tea-like drink while its roasted and ground root percolates into something like coffee. Its flowers produce a tasty wine. It is as common as the humble DANDELION!

Which Gift?

Two GiftsIt is extremely valuable to know which Christian gift or gifts we do not have and those we do have. Billy Graham (1918-2019) the American evangelist once joked, "Most of my friends tease me because I cannot carry a tune!" A famous video clip from one of his crusades showed him trying to sing the children's chorus, "This little light of mine." Cliff Barrows and George Beverly Shea were carrying the tune but not Billy! Dr. Graham had many gifts such as preaching and evangelism, but singing was not among them. All Christians have at least one gift but not them all! Rest in peace, Billy. You used your Christian Body gifts well. Well done thou good and faithful servant of the Lord!

Holy Christian Life

Blaise PascalA holy Christian life must be modeled on Jesus Christ in every respect. Christians are to show the serene silent beauty of a holy life. When we use our gifts in God's service, the personal Body of Christ in us gradually becomes a holy Christian life. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher who made a major contribution to the study of fluids, pressure, and vacuums in science. He also wrote profoundly on the holy Christian life. He wrote, "The serene, silent beauty of a holy life is the most powerful influence in the world." Another earlier philosopher Saint Paul challenged his Roman friends in Romans 12.1, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, because of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship."

Most Powerful Influence

Open HandWhen Christians acted in the world, we subjected God to that activity whether holy or profane. Saint Paul applied this analogy to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6.15-17, "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?" and "he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit."

Battered Chalice Analogy

chaliceThe holy Christian life was wholeness in the Master's hand. It was the lifetime process of being made perfect, but one which we will only finally reach in heaven. A bent and battered chalice may not stand upright but a silversmith can straighten the twisted stem. He can knock out the dents and re-silver the chalice as if were new. This is how God works in our lives. He delivers us back just as if we had never fallen short of his perfect standard! God hammered out all our dents and imperfections as he made us holy.✞

Serving Jesus Christ

Jesus of NazarethServing Jesus Christ means that one cannot serve both God and riches. It is either Jesus or gold coin and influence. Those serving Jesus Christ must be prepared not only to be a new creation but also to be available to serve. Jesus stated in John 12.26, "Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me."

Saint Cyprian

Saint CyprianSaint Cyprian (200-258 AD), was the martyred third-century Bishop of Carthage in North Africa and a great Christian apologist. He was born into a wealthy non-Christian family and became a lawyer and a public speaker. Later, he took the additional Christian name of Caecilius after a priest to whom he owed his conversion. He wrote, "a second birth restored me to a new man." After his baptism at age thirty-five, he gave away a great part of his wealth to the poor in Carthage. He witnessed that, "before I knew Christ, I did not know the possibilities of what I could become." Serving Jesus Christ and membership in the Body of Christ brings with it certain obligations. Jesus asserted in Matthew 16.24, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Serving Christ has its cost.

Dangers of Riches

Gold Coin RichesJesus taught about the dangers of riches in his service. In Luke 16.13, Jesus said, "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." In serving Jesus Christ, it's a clear case of either-or. Dick Francis called it "the highwayman's choice - your money or your eternal life!" He challenged us by asking what Jesus meant by "You cannot serve both God and money."

"Christian Spiritual Gifts"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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