August 14

Use What You Have

Romans 12:4-8 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

This section from Romans encourages us twice over. Both encouragements are simple to understand, yet they call us to action, which is often difficult if we don’t have the vision behind the call or if we feel we’re busy enough now.

The first is that as members of the body of Christ, we each have been gifted by God according to His wisdom and grace. This is the situation with every believer, no matter what we think or feel. What this scripture says to us is to go beyond having or even recognizing our gifts to using our gifts.

This may seem obvious and overly simple. But the church is filled with people who don’t realize that they are gifted, or how they are gifted, or that they are to take steps of faith in using their gifts to help build up the church and show the love of Christ.

There are many reasons beyond having never been told, or never having read God’s word. Some simply don’t want to connect with others, which happens when we use our gifts. Some of these folks actually manage to come to church, but tend to sit in the back and not relate to others. This may be the behavior of people just making their way back into fellowship. But if this is still the case five years later, then they are resisting the Holy Spirit.

Notice the gifts here, and how they involve relating to others: prophesying, ministering, teaching, exhorting, giving, leading, and showing mercy. We have to “get in there” if we’re going to use our gifts. This is not simply a matter of personal expression. It’s using what we’ve been given to bless God and build up others.

The second encouragement is as to the “how” of using our gifts. We are called to prophesy “in proportion to our faith,” which should take a lot of pressure off. We are to lead “with diligence,” give “with liberality,” and show mercy “with cheerfulness.” All these inspire us to express our gifts with energy, focus and enthusiasm. If the Lord tells us how to use them, it must be the best way to use them.

A major manufacturer’s famous marketing motto is “Just do it!” Here, God says, “I gave you gifts; now use them.” If we look at this from God’s perspective, He has given us part of Himself in His gifts to us. He’s done this because He loves us, He wants the gifts to help us grow into the image of His son, and He wants everyone to work together to build the church up in love (Ephesians 4:16). What a divine vision! Do we need any other encouragement? Besides that, His word here is more than an encouragement; it’s His blessed command.

Prayer: Father, thank You for giving us gifts that reflect Your character and show us Your love for Your people. Help me to see what You’ve given me, and open my eyes to see how You want me to use them. Please help me get past my personal barriers to being used, that I may grow spiritually and be used fully to bless others and bring You glory.

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