The Purpose of Gifts

Jenny ThompsonPosted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 by Jenny Thompson

Romans 12:1-12

Rome was the most important city in the world at the time of Paul. It had a vast army that controlled all the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. So the rulers of Rome were extremely powerful and wealthy and employed many people. Many slaves had to work in Rome and it was also an important city for trade. Paul had not visited Rome at the time when he wrote this letter.

Paul wrote most of his letters to churches that he himself had established. But the church at Rome was different. There were already many Christians in Rome long before Paul arrived there.

Paul appeals to all the Christians in Rome. God has shown his great love to them all. So they should be grateful. If they have the right ‘attitude to God’, then they will think rightly about themselves. This will make a difference to their relationships with other people.

Christians, Paul said, must offer their bodies as a sacrifice to God. Paul is not writing about death here as he is explaining how Christians should live their lives in this world. They should try to use every part of their bodies in a manner that pleases God.

Christians must also change the way that they think. The word ‘change’ is the same word that describes the change in Jesus’ body. Jesus changed when he showed his glory to the three apostles in Mark 9,

“After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them.”

Paul tells Christians to think properly about their skills, that they must not be proud and not think that they are better than other people.

Paul talks about the human body. All the different parts of a body are necessary. In the same way, all members of a Christian church should work together. Then the church can work properly. The people may have a variety of skills but each skill is necessary for the purpose of God’s work in that church.

Christians should be humble because their skills come from God.

So Paul was exhorting the believers in Rome to offer themselves entirely to God, as a living sacrifice. Again we see the motivation here within Paul’s heart was to serve others and it was the “cry” of his heart that these Christians would also serve others! So Paul of course was a shining example to the believers! Are we?

Do you truly want to serve others?

God works in and through us, yet how many of us really understand that every part of our life God uses to fashion us into the people He has uniquely called us to be, which is why our story is so different, just as our gifts are so different and the way He uses us is so different!

What gifts do you and I have? Please don’t say, ‘I have not got any!’ as that is not the truth!

What is the motivation in our hearts in using our gifts? Is it to promote ourselves or to genuinely serve others?

It is good to ask ourselves these types of questions! Remember the Lord reveals the true intention of our hearts!

”But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ ” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Both of the readings we’ve been looking at over the last few days clearly speak of God’s people who were in relationship, displaying love, commitment, loyalty and humility – ‘hearts’ in love with Him!

So let’s look again at the amazing conversation between Solomon and God in 2 Chronicles 1.

“Solomon answered, ‘You were extravagantly generous with David my father, and now you have made me King in his place. Establish, GOD, the words you spoke to my father, for you’ve given me a staggering task, ruling this mob of people. Yes, give me wisdom and knowledge as I come and go among this people — for who on his own is capable of leading these, your glorious people?’
God answered Solomon, ‘This is what has come out of your heart; you didn’t grasp for money, wealth, fame, and the doom of your enemies; you didn’t even ask for a long life. You asked for wisdom and knowledge so you could govern well my people over whom I’ve made you King. Because of this, you get what you asked for — wisdom and knowledge. And I’m presenting you the rest as a bonus — money, wealth, and fame beyond anything the kings before or after you had or will have.’ ”

In Romans 12: 6-8, the Apostle Paul talks about the importance of only doing what the Lord tells us to do, and sticking to that!

“If you preach, just preach God’s message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.”

It is also very important that we serve using our gifts within the area and calling of our anointing. This means then that we serve within “the safety boundary markers that God has placed around us”, but that still allows God to grow us, as we remain open for Him to do so!

He will not ask us to run before we can walk and he will never ask us to do something that He will not equip us to do. Our personality, character, background, upbringing and experiences of life all contribute in shaping and moulding us. This is just so fascinating as only God knows how to do this!

So the purpose of the gifts is that we might use them for His glory. As we serve Him, we are also serving others. These gifts are not to make ourselves feel better, or to try and score brownie points with God or with one another! They are not to make ourselves feel worthy as we have been made worthy because we have received His son.

Solomon and Paul had an attitude that we can all emulate!

May our attitude be full of gratitude to God remembering always that He is the one who has given us these gifts in the first place.

Without Him, we are nothing and have nothing to give.

Amen

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