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Gifted for Service

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
May 30, 2024 12:00 am

Gifted for Service

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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May 30, 2024 12:00 am

God gave each of us talents, abilities, and skills to help others and to accomplish His purpose for our lives.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, May thirtieth. Many people approach God with a what can you do for me mentality. Today's podcast concludes the series on spiritual maturity by helping believers shift our focus from what we can get to what we can give. One of the greatest tragedies in life is for a person to live their whole life with no purpose. No sense of direction, no goals. They're just floating through life. Just sort of managing to live from one day to the next or maybe from one week to the next. Maybe from one paycheck to the next. Accomplishing nothing really, except just existing and making enough money maybe to just get by.

Or maybe end up on the street corners as we see sometimes people out there begging for money. I look at them wondering, what happened? What happened back in their life that caused them to lose all hope, all sense of purpose, no real sense of direction in life? It's like going on a long journey and you have no GPS, no sense of direction. You don't have any destination. You're just sort of going, just sort of wobbling in life.

What a tragedy. And I can tell you no matter who you are, that is not the will and the plan of God for your life. It's very clear in the Scripture that He has a plan and a will for everyone's life.

Otherwise, He wouldn't have given talents, abilities, skills. He would not have given spiritual gifts to believers if there were no purpose whatsoever. So, if I should ask you what you're living for, what would you say? Would it be something to do with your family, your job, or some particular interest or hobby that you have?

What are you living for? So, the Scripture is very clear. And one of the most important things about our relationship to Him and our relationship to each other is the fact that God has given you and me a spiritual gift or gifts. And He's given us talents and abilities and skills. And He's given them to us for a specific reason.

But if you don't know that and you don't care and you just want to get by, you'll miss out on life's best. So, I want you to turn, if you will, to First Peter chapter four and look, if you will, beginning at this tenth verse, which is very important. And Peter's just been talking about things that are going to happen and so forth. And so, he comes down to the tenth verse of First Peter four and he says, And every word is important in the Word of God. He says, Now, look at this tenth verse for a moment and notice what he says.

No unnecessary words in the Bible. As each one, not as a group, but each one. As each one has received. Each one means an individual. Has received is a tense of the verb that means something happened in the past.

Not a line, but a period. At some point in your life as a believer, your spiritual gifts come when you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior and the Holy Spirit begins to work them in your life at that point. At a moment in time, you received a special gift and other gifts for a very specific purpose, he says.

And he says, How? In serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. That is His multiple expressions of goodness and love for us.

He says He has good stewards. Not sloppy, not lazy, not careless, not indifferent, but good stewards of the grace of God. Now, let's distinguish between something. God has given to every one of us one or more gifts. So, let's define what is a spiritual gift? A spiritual gift is what? A divinely given endowment that enables us, or equips us to serve Him effectively and successfully. That is, God has placed within you as one of His children. He has endowed you with a very special gift. That is, He's endowed you with the enabling power to work in your life, to fulfill His purpose, whatever that might be, and to do so effectively and successfully.

So, you have a special gift. Now, what's the difference between a spiritual gift and a talent? Well, a talent is also a gift. It's a special ability that one has in some particular field and in which they can be successful. It can be one of many skills. For example, there are talents in the field of sports.

You know about that. There are talents, for example, in the field of teaching. There are talents in the field of cooking.

In fact, you could just go down the list of all the things that people do, some who are so technically minded. So, there are all kind of talents. But a talent is something you come into the world with.

Your parents, for example, had something to do with that. But a spiritual gift is something that God deliberately, willfully chooses to give you based on what He knows your capacities are, based on what He wants to do in your life. And so, if you're a believer, you have one of these special gifts. So, let's look for just a moment at how the Scripture divides them up. Let's start with Ephesians chapter four. And Paul in Ephesians chapter four talks about ministry gifts. And if you'll notice, if you will, in verse eleven, of Ephesians four, he says, And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.

And you'll notice he puts pastors and teachers together because a pastor ought to be teaching the flock. So, these are ministry gifts. And notice what he says, He gives these gifts for the equipping of the saints, for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ. That is my responsibility to build you up by the grace of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is in order to work out God's will and purpose and plan in your life to build up the whole fellowship. That is, these are ministry gifts that God has given.

But that's only a part. So, I want you to turn, if you will, to First Corinthians for a moment. And let's look at the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians. And here are some personal gifts that God gives. And if you'll notice what Paul says beginning in the first verse, Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant. And then he moves on down and he says in verse four, Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. Spiritual gifts are a gift from God through the Holy Spirit.

There are varieties of ministries in the same Lord. There are varieties of effects as a result of working these gifts, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But now watch this seventh verse, But to each one is given the manifestation of the expression of that Spirit for the common good. That is, whatever your spiritual gift is, God didn't give it to you just for you. He gave it to you for the common good that is for the church, for the whole body of Christ. And then beginning in the twelfth chapter, beginning, if you will, in verse four of Romans, For just as we have many members in one body, and all the members do not have the same function, and all do the same thing, but many different members. We've got choir members, orchestra members, teachers and prayers and so forth. So, we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Now listen to what he says, Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly. If prophecy according to the proportion of his faith, if service in his serving, or he who teaches in his teaching, or he who exhorts in his exhortation, he who gives with liberality, he who leads with diligence, one who shows mercy with cheerfulness. So, here are seven different gifts.

Now listen carefully. These are motivational gifts. That is, these gifts are given to you for a specific purpose of which God wants to use you. A motivational gift is a gift that expresses itself within you that motivates you.

That is, there's something about that. For example, a nurse with a gift of mercy would be highly motivated in that area, or probably wouldn't become a nurse. A teacher who has the gift of teaching is motivated to teach. A person, for example, with any one of these gifts, no matter what it might be, that person was given that gift for God to use them in a very special way. And he says it is the Holy Spirit who gives the gifts, and it's the Holy Spirit who works that gift in a person. You have a gift.

In other words, do you find yourself always wanting to help somebody and you're talking to them and you find yourself wanting to encourage somebody, you see that they're down? You more than likely have the gift of exhortation. Or maybe you get in a situation and you see people just don't seem to know how to put it together, and you have the gift of leadership and exhortation, sometimes they don't like that.

Mercy does not want you telling them how to operate sometimes. But that's your gift. That's the way you think.

You think organized because God made you that way. When you understand what motivates you and your husband or wife or your children, for example, they have spiritual gifts when they're saved and they act a certain way and you think, well, what motivates them? They're motivated by the gift.

Now, watch this. If that gift isn't sanctified, it's not controlled by God, it can get you in trouble. But if we understand what the other person's spiritual gift is, then we can give them some slack, you know, give them some space, understand who they are. So, these are the gifts that God has given to everyone. And the Scripture says it very clear here in First Corinthians where we were reading. He says, for example, that they are given for the common good, which means they don't, He doesn't give us spiritual gifts for our sake, but He gives them for the common good. And that means, for example, in a church like this, all this whole body right here in this particular group, we have all these gifts. And so, each one of us is to exercise our gift in behalf of somebody else, for someone else. And you see somebody headed for trouble and you're in exaltor, you want to stop them if at all possible. You hear someone suffering, you want to step in when they're suffering. If you see somebody who's making a mistake and it's because they don't know how, you want to teach them how.

And so, I could give you a lot of illustrations, but let me give you one simple one that I've given before because it's so simple. You have invited seven people to your house. You're having a wonderful dinner. Your best bread's on the table. Everybody has a glass of iced tea and a plate and spoon, knife and fork and so forth.

And you haven't been sitting there very long. And somebody, let's just say that it's my house and I knock over my glass of tea. Now, how would each person respond? Mercy would say, oh, my goodness. And a person with a gift of giving would say, we can buy another glass. You know, don't worry about that. And the person with exhortation would say, well, next time maybe you should, if you put your glass on this side, it'd be okay. The person with a gift of organization said, you go get the mop, I'll get this and we'll take care of all this. You can take each one of them and they'll respond a certain way.

You know why? Because God made us to be a part of the whole. And if you are giving of yourself to other people motivated on your gift, you're going to be happier, you're going to be more successful at what you do, no matter what that is.

And I think when people feel that their life is meaningless, they're going to make it meaningful even if it means to do something wrong to get recognition. So, He says God has given us all of these, that is for the good of everyone, not just for the good of one person. So, when I think about the purpose for which they've been given, notice He says, employ it, put it to work in serving one another. So, whatever your gift is, God didn't give it to you for you. He gave it to you to use you in some way for somebody else. We have all been in situations where each one of those we need. Been in situations where somebody needed to give you something or encourage you or direct you, instruct you for example, or somebody needed to correct you because of something you did wrong. In other words, all the gifts have a part. This is about us giving ourselves away to each other. What can I do to help the other person? Because people who are always looking out for themselves, they're not happy, they're not at peace. You don't even want to be around them because it's me, myself, and I, and that's all they're interested in. What will it profit me?

What will I get out of this? And that is not love, for example, and it's not the reason He gave us the gifts. And so, I look at Mark chapter ten, verse forty-five, and listen to what Jesus said about Himself, and I would certainly think this ought to be our example. He says in verse forty-five, for even the Son of Man, and notice how He said it, even I, the Son of Man, did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. And who was at washing feet at that last supper?

Jesus washing feet because He was demonstrating what service was all about. And so, the truth is, you have a very definite spiritual gift with your name on it, given to you by Almighty God. And nobody else can give it to you, and nobody else can take it away from you. The only thing you can do is employ it for the purpose of God or waste it by ignoring it and being selfish and not living it out as God would intend you to do. And so, somebody says, well, why does God give these things?

Anyway, but let's think about it for a moment. He's in heaven and Jesus is seated by His right side, and the Holy Spirit's living within you. How does God get His work done? He gets His work done through His children. For example, let's say that here are a group of very, very impoverished children and they have a need, and so what does God do? He stirs somebody's heart with the gift of mercy. He stirs somebody else's heart with the gift of organization, somebody else with the gift of giving, and somebody else with exhortation, somebody else with prophecy.

He takes people where they are and shows them what a need is, and each one, when you put them all together, all the needs will be met. What are missionaries all about? They're all about being evangelists. They're all about establishing churches.

They're all about reaching people for Christ. You have a spiritual gift, and God has given to you a spiritual gift for a specific reason. And ultimately, as He says here, for example, it is to get His work done. And He says we're to do it as good stewards. But I'm simply saying that God gives gifts, listen, so that you can grow up and be the person God wants you to be. He's equipped you.

He not only has given you a gift, He not only has given you a talent, He's given you the Holy Spirit who is His guarantee, for example, that you'll go to heaven when you die, and His guarantee and absolute assurance that He will exercise that gift through you to accomplish God's purpose in your life. That's why you can never give up. And once in a while, somebody says, well, but you know, if you knew about my past and where I came from and so forth, we've all come from somewhere. The question is not where did I come from, where do I want to go?

That's the issue. It's what's God's goal? What is His destination? What is His will? What is His purpose? Because He doesn't give us gifts just to sit around and say, well, I have the gift of doing so and so.

No, remember what He said? He says He gives us these gifts for the common good and we're to serve Him and He says it as good stewards or excellent stewards, which means this, whatever little I have, I am to be a good steward of it. If I only have a little bit of money, I'm to be a good steward of it. Look, the more truth that you know, the more truth you're responsible for. And the reason God gives you truth is to make it possible for you to become the full person God wants you to be. And so, if you think about this, these spiritual gifts and talents don't originate with us. God is the one who gives them. Now, what does He give them?

He gives them for the specific purpose of making you the person God wants you to be in order that you can accomplish the things that He wants you to accomplish. Now, you can sit here and say, well, you know, that's all right if you've got this and got, no, that's not all right. Don't underestimate what God can do in your life. Don't underestimate it.

You don't have any idea what He can do in your life. And my desire for you is that you look at yourself and say, God, here's who I am today. What do you want to do in my life? Where do you want me to go?

I refuse to accept the excuse that I can't. The important thing is, God, what do you want? And now that I know I have a spiritual gift and I have talents and I have the Holy Spirit in me, God, I'm going to give it my best beginning today. I'm listening for direction.

I'm going to trust You and I'm going to obey You. Thank you for listening to Gifted for Service. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-30 05:26:12 / 2024-05-30 05:34:17 / 8

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