As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies–in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11
This little passage is about spiritual gifting, which is the empowerment by God to do things for the kingdom. There is a difference between doing things that we are naturally good at and doing something by gifting, leading and enabling power of the Holy Spirit. I have been naturally good at sports and music, and in my younger years would do much of both without much need of the courage and gifting of the Holy Spirit. But there is a supernatural gifting that comes from God, by His Holy Spirit, that has been called your “spiritual gift.”
There are many varieties of this spiritual gifting, with lists in Ephesians 4:11-12, Romans 12:2-7 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. They are things like teaching, giving, hospitality, wisdom and discernment, preaching, evangelism, administration and showing mercy. When Jesus comes into your life, He gives you abilities from His Spirit so that you can serve Him and build up the church. And He expects you to use it for His glory.
No Christian can then say, “I’m not good at anything; I have nothing to offer.” That is a lie from Satan, or a ploy of your flesh to be a slug. As sure as you have the Holy Spirit in your life, you surely have a gifting of some sort.
There are two ways of looking at this gifting:
That every believer has at least one of the listed gifts. Your task would be to discover what that gifting is. One way of discovering this is to get out and try things. And, just like someone who shoots baskets in his driveway was meant to take those skills and be a part of a basketball team, your gifts are meant to be fleshed out in the church.
When there are opportunities to serve and you do something, you may find that some things are in your wheelhouse, and others just aren’t. And, you may do something like help out with Sunday School or take part in the worship team, and people may tell you how that really touched them. You may feel the working of the Holy Spirit when you tell others about Jesus, and you know those words didn’t come from your own head. A pattern will soon follow of things you are drawn to doing, and of seeing God work through that.
That the gifting of the Holy Spirit in your life is varied, depending on the need of the moment. If I am filled by the Spirit and am walking in the Spirit, being led to do something and I do it, the Holy Spirit’s power will work through me. There are times when God has led me to do something that is totally out of character for me, but I know I must obey and do it, and God works.
Here is an example of this: One time I was at a prayer meeting with several other churches in our area. The pastor leading it urged us to think about someone we could share the love of Jesus with, and to ask God how to do that. As soon as he said this, a mom from school came to my mind. As we bowed to pray, I had a flash of an image of me standing at her door with two bags of groceries in my hands. She had been having some troubles with drugs and getting caught. It would have been more comfortable to me to have her in my jail Bible study, but to walk up to her door with groceries was not in my comfort zone.
After work the next day, I knew that this was when I should do this. Her house was right across the street, so it was easy to know if she was home or not. There were cars in the driveway, so this was the time. As I stopped at the stop sign, the choice was there: if I turned right I would go home, left to the grocery store.
“Okay God, I’ll just drive to the grocery store…okay God, I’ll go in, but I don’t know what to buy for them.” I sensed God tell me, “Just buy what you would buy.” So I went my usual route, but got double of what I would get. As I got to the check out, I told the clerk, “I need paper bags, and all of this has to fit in two bags.” That’s what in my “mini vision.” So I fit them snugly in and set off for her house. I prayed that God would give the words to say why I was there. I didn’t have a script prepared.
When I got to the door with the bags in my arms, she came to the door and said, “What are you doing?” Her living room had several people in it, so we walked into the kitchen and said, “I just wanted to let you know that God loves you.” She gave me a hug, I talked with her and the guests for a few minutes and I left. I am still waiting for the opportunity to tell her more about Jesus, and I have this gut feeling that one day it will come.
This was a one time working like that. I was obeying the leading of the Spirit, and trust that God worked through it. If God is leading you to do something, just do it with the courage and the strength that He provides.
“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10