She just flew off in a Boeing 747 towards her third missionary destination this year.
And you’re left to wonder just what exactly you’re doing for the kingdom of God.
You walk past the coffee shop and see her preparing discussion questions for her Bible study group.
And again you wonder…just what exactly you’re doing for the kingdom of God.
Because your spiritual gifts don’t look like their spiritual gifts, when you see them hard at work for the kingdom, you’re tempted to wonder whether your spiritual gifts are worth anything at all. Take heart, daughter of God. Today, I’m here to remind you that your spiritual gifts are not hers (and that’s a good thing).
VARIED GIFTS, ONE SPIRIT
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone, it is the same God at work.”
I think this is something that we, as a modern church, often forget. As members of a society ridden by comparison, we want our lives to look just like, or better, than everyone else’s. We want our spiritual gifts to be the same, or better than everyone else’s. Well, when it comes to spiritual gifts, no one thing is “better” than anything else.
As the apostle Paul says in his letter to the Corinthians, all gifts are given by the Holy Spirit. Some may look flashier or seem more exciting than others, but really, all are equally important.
In regards to spiritual gifts and particular talents, Scripture teaches that as believers, we are all members of one body. Consider the passage below.
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so, the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body…Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
I particularly love Paul’s question of, “If they were all one part, where would the body be?” Think about this as it applies to spiritual gifting. If we were all doing missions work abroad, who would be building up the church back home? If we were all leading weekly Bible studies, who would quietly serve the broken all around? If we were all preaching from the pulpit every Sunday, who would listen? Who would lead worship? Who would take prayer requests and pray over them with personalized and fervent specificity? If we were all one part, where would the body be? If we all had the same spiritual gifts, where would the kingdom of God be?
Believers are given spiritual gifts for one ultimate purpose – to advance the kingdom of God. We are to serve one another through our gifts and glorify God with our talents (1 Peter 4:10-11). For some faithful Christians, that means doing things that seem glamorous in the world’s eyes like flying off to underprivileged countries to share the Gospel or writing books and speaking at women’s conferences. Maybe it looks like that for you. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it looks like tutoring theology and leading a little Bible study group and sharing your random theological thoughts with whoever will listen. That’s what it looks like for me, at least in this season.
Harry Truman once said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” He may have been talking about politics, but it applies just as well to spiritual matters. Imagine how much we could accomplish for the kingdom of God if we stopped caring who got the “credit” (1 Corinthians 3:7).
Whatever your spiritual gifts may be, I pray that you remember their purpose – to glorify God and advance His kingdom. Be them glamorous or plain, simple or exciting – steward them well, and use them to do just that.