Authority, Part 9: Gifts and Talents
Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function….
Ephesians 5:21 … submitting to one another in the fear of God.
I Corinthians 12:4, 11 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit…But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
God has graciously given the body of Christ many gifts of talents, gifts and skills. While we may individually have a few of these gifts, corporately we are rich with talent. As we submit to the authority of the gifts given to others by God, we reap the benefits that authority brings with it.
For example, the author is gifted musically, and I followed up those gifts with training. Someone could benefit by asking me to sight-read something on the piano, or by asking me to teach a vocal part. I can also sing and musically direct, and others have benefited from that gift. To balance that situation, the author has almost no mechanical skills, and would be of little help in repairing a motor or building an addition on a house. Yet I am blessed as I recognize, honor and take advantage of the gifts of other people who are skilled in areas that I am not.
We submit to this authority of gifts and talents (sometimes called functional authority) when we visit the doctor, get our car repaired, or use the services of a plumber. Most of us would prefer to submit to the skills of a non-Christian surgeon than to submit to the unskilled workings of the best-intentioned Christian with no medical background. These gifts have an authority from God, and we are blessed when we submit to the authority of another’s talents, strengths and developed skills.
The principle of authority is even more pronounced when we speak of the spiritual gifts described in I Corinthians 12-14. God has given gifts to the body of Christ as He has chosen, and they are given to build up the church. The Corinthians had a problem receiving and using them properly (they put an emphasis on some gifts over others), and we may find ourselves feeling jealous of someone’s gifts or resistant to receiving something of God through another person. But if we recognize God’s authority at work here, and that His purpose is to bless, we will see submitting ourselves to the gift as submitting to our loving God. If we humble ourselves, we’ll see that it should never be about the vessel; it should be about God.
We don’t have to have all gifts and talents in ourselves; we’re not supposed to. We see we are rich when we realize that the gifts and talents of others become ours as we receive them as from the Lord. We can give what we are strong in to others, and can gratefully receive the strengths of others in the areas where we lack.
Prayer: Father, thank You that You’ve given me gifts and talents. Thank You that You’ve given others those things, too. I repent of jealousy, and thank You that as I submit to Your authority in others’ gifts, I obtain the blessings that come with receiving what You’ve given them.