Your Spiritual Gifts
Pastor Shawn Boonstra
I was out for my daily walk the other day, when I noticed a piece of paper caught in a flowerbed by the shopping mall. I guess I’m a naturally curious guy, so I bent over to pick it up, and discovered that it was a single page of the Bible.
Of course, you really have to wonder how a page of the Bible ends up in a flowerbed along the side of the road. Was somebody’s Bible showing signs of wear, and the page just kind of slipped out as the owner of the Bible was walking along the sidewalk? Or did somebody simply read something they didn’t like, so in a fit of anger, they ripped the page out of the Bible and tossed it on the ground?
I guess I’ll probably never know—but the page itself happened to be from the Gospel of Matthew, so I spent the rest of my walk reading it. It was from a version I don’t normally use for Bible study, so I’ve written it out so I can share it with you. It comes from Matthew chapter 25, and the title of the section I’m reading from is “The Story About Investment.”
It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money. (Matthew 25:14-18)
Of course, that’s not the end of the story, but there are a few things I want you to notice for today:
1) It’s God who delegates responsibility in the work of the church. Sometimes you’ll hear Christians talking about claiming different spiritual gifts and deciding what they’re going to do for the kingdom of Christ. I love the enthusiasm that comes with that attitude, but we need to be careful that we don’t start telling God which gifts to give us, because He has a pretty good sense of what’s appropriate.
2) God expects us to do something while we’re waiting for Jesus to return. The Christian church isn’t a waiting room—where we sit around reading magazines and watching television until the doctor can see us. We’re not just punching the clock, waiting for the kingdom to arrive. God expects us to occupy our time with the work of the kingdom. He’s given us gifts that allow us to find a place in the family of God. They allow us to live an experience that will help us develop characters that fit right in to the kingdom of Heaven.
3) Nobody’s allowed to bury his or her talents. The gifts we’ve been given are not for our own entertainment. God hasn’t given us abilities just so church services can be more fun or so we can spend our days proving to each other just how spiritual we really are. Those gifts have been given for the building of God’s kingdom, and we’re not supposed to keep them to ourselves.
To put it in the language of the story, God expects a return on His investment. If you think about it, He probably used someone else’s spiritual gifts to get you through the doors of His church, and now He’s asking you to do the same for someone else. He’s asking you to prove that He’s a wise investor, and that you truly believe that working for the kingdom is a better way to live.
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