Last time we talked about being vessels of honor through stewardship. We stated that serving through stewardship allows God to show himself through three areas of our lives: our time, our gifts/talents and our treasure. We continue this series by discussing our gifts/talents and treasures.
God has called each of us to do something within the body of Christ. I Corinthians 12 deals with the spiritual gifts and how we are all one body in Christ but have been called to do different things. Unfortunately, our churches are just like the Leaning Tower of Pisa - lopsided! We see the same people doing everything - and even some of them are working outside of their gifts.
God has not called us to be pew sitters - but to explore His purpose in our lives by exercising our God-given gift(s). A gift is supernatural - which means it comes straight from God - it is outside of our natural abilities. We often confuse talents with gifts. In specifying the difference Iíll use my own life as an example: Iíve been singing in public since I was 4 years old. My family had a gospel singing group and you could say that singing was passed down through the family. If I didnít do anything else in the world I would still be able to sing. However, my spiritual gifts are totally unnatural to me. One of the gifts God has supernaturally bestowed upon me is the gift of teaching. Outside of church, however, I would never be inclined to teach ANYTHING! It is not desirable to me nor is it something I feel I would be able to do successfully. But God, in His infinite wisdom and purpose - has destined me to teach His Word Ė which is definitely not something I see myself capable of doing in my own strength.
Often the gifts that God has given us take us outside of our comfort zones - and then we know for sure that He is in control when we allow Him to use us in capacities that we would not ordinarily operate in. Our gifts carry with them supernatural results that only come from God and are used for ministry and service.
It is imperative that we seek out our supernatural gifts so that we can use them, along with our talents, to glorify God and edify His people!
Another way for us to become vessels of honor is to serve God through our treasures. Our treasures are our wealth - our finances. It is not to say that we must be wealthy in order to serve successfully! God requires a tenth of what we earn to be given back to Him, according to what we have been given. Our finances aid in the operation of the church so that it can continue to do ministry and we must do this cheerfully as unto the Lord - without complaint and dread!
Giving is not only for church obligations, but also for the relief of the poor. Benevolent offerings, missions, and giving to organizations in need are all ways that the church can respond to the needs of others.
We must also commit ourselves to serving through sowing. The Bible tells us that we will reap what we sow. Galatians 5:22 - the fruit of the Spirit - gives us a list of things we can sow as a service to the Lord: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self- control. We want to sow these things not only in our own lives, but also in the lives of others.
Love: unconditional, agape love - not based on what you do or donít do but the kind of love that Christ has for us.
Joy: not happiness which is temporal and based on conditions, but joy that comes from knowing God and having assurance that He is in control regardless of my circumstances!
Peace: we must strive to live peaceably among all men Ė especially those of the household of faith! We must not always seek to be right over seeking to bring order, peace, and love to our homes, churches and workplaces!
Longsuffering: patience, compassion - not revenge and isolation!
Kindness: being kind one to another - allowing God to shine through us - even with those in our lives that are hard to love and like!!!
Goodness - taking the high road - not showing nastiness, being godly - showing the goodness of God within us.
Faithfulness: being faithful to God, being faithful to tasks that have been entrusted to us, doing everything as unto the Lord!
Gentleness: not being abrasive, harsh, brutal in our dealings with one another, being supportive and understanding.
Self-control: being temperate, learning to put under subjection our tongue, our behavior, our desires, showing humility and divine control! This is our service to Christ.We must strive daily to be vessels of Honor Ė serving through submission and stewardship Ė vessels fit for the Masterís use!