If you think you feel ‘taken for granted’, consider your little toe on your left foot. Although smaller, yet God fashioned it like the others, nail and all, only shorter, but no less important. It arises at reveille every morning ready to do its part in moving your body through its paces. And, it complains as loudly as the others when you stand on it too long. God placed it there to speed your running and walking and for stability. He knew you needed five toes with none more important than the others. So it is with the body of Christ, as we see in the lesson below.
Each with a purpose in God’s plan
1 Peter 4.11 list a variety of different Spiritual gifts. We studied these in the Spring.
The Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 12.7 that each of these is a manifestation of God’s Holy Spirit, the only One who has them.
Although He gives them uniquely to each believer in Jesus, every Spiritual gift is designed and intended to benefit every other believer; team work in its truest definition.
See 1 Peter 4.10, also, for this picture.
- Finishing this thought, Paul writes in Ephesians 4.12-13 that the gifts listed in verse 10 are ‘for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry’…‘till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ….’
- Like the relay race, each runner takes the baton from receiving it to passing it to the one who has been assigned to run the next leg.
Best efforts or 80%?
- You are responsible only for your leg. Do you do your part as assigned or let the whole team down? Winning or loosing may result from one runner!
- Although you don’t run through a tape at the finish line or cross before the clock records your former personal best, what are God’s metrics for your performance?
- Romans 12.6-8 say that your amount of faith is the measure. Note the illustrations and finish each like the first, as follows: if your unique Spiritual gift is prophecy (telling about Jesus and/or things to come), prophesy ‘in proportion to [your] faith’; if teaching, teach ‘in proportion to [your] faith’; etc. Spend time in the weight (faith) room!
- In verse 8, Paul adds to ‘in proportion to [your] faith’ the attitude you must also display. With what adjectives would you describe your best attitude when you are prophesying or teaching or ministering or exhorting? This is peak performance!
- These describe the degree of transformed mind (Romans 12.2) and conformed body (Romans 8.29) required for your worship (Romans 12.1) and service.
- 1 Peter 4.11 connects this more intimately with God. Who is speaking through you? See Matthew 10.19-20 for one illustration; see Jeremiah 15.19 for another. Who is ministering through you?
- You should especially note that the result of the use of every Spiritual gift is ‘that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ….’ Will 80% glorify Him enough? Note Paul’s self analysis in 2 Timothy 4.7-8.
- Be a good steward of the Spiritual gift given to you by the Holy Spirit!
I am glad that God does not use 80% in His dealings with me! Ephesians 3.20-21!