Posts tagged ‘Spiritual gifts’

Are You Sitting at the Feet of Jesus?

But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”  Luke 10:40

Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem when they went through Martha’s village. Martha had the gift of hospitality. She loved to host a party. And so I imagine she insisted that Jesus and the disciples come to her home for dinner. When they arrived, Martha was already in the kitchen making sure everything would be just right for her guests. But her sister, Mary, had different gifts. Mary was passionate, social, friendly, and energetic. She had to be where the people were. But more than anything else, Mary just had to be with Jesus.  And so that is exactly where Martha found Mary that day, sitting at the feet of Jesus while she was slaving away in the kitchen preparing the meal for everyone to enjoy.

This is when Martha did what we all do far too often. She judged Mary. Martha saw a task to be done, used the talents she had been given by God to honor Jesus, and then assumed that Mary was not using the talents she had been given by God to honor Jesus. You see, we often think everyone around us needs to be doing the same thing in the same way in the same time as we are doing. After all, the meal needed to be prepared, the table set, and a hundred other jobs completed before Jesus could eat. Martha, however, failed to see that we each have been gifted by God to lift up Jesus in our own way and with our own gifts. That day Mary was using her gifts to care for the emotional needs of Jesus while Martha was supplying His physical needs. And so we read in the very next verses, “But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.’” 

Too many times I judge the commitment to Jesus that others have based upon whether they are utilizing the gifts God has given to me. I fall into the same trap as did Martha in this story. I think that everyone else needs to be doing what I am doing for Jesus, or at least helping me do it. But this is actually wrong, perhaps even a sin! Why? Because in that moment I am judging. And Jesus tells me never to judge others. So the next time you are tempted to criticize, dare I say judge, another person for not doing ministry in the way you think they should be doing it, think about Jesus’ words to Martha. And then ask yourself if you are really concerned about the only thing worth being concerned about. Are you sitting at the feet of Jesus?

 

What Am I Neglecting?

“Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received…” 1 Timothy 4:14

Neglect is an ugly word. It means to “fail to care for properly.” Neglect is a form of abuse. Child neglect is a crime. It is a major accusation in malpractice suits. It is unacceptable behavior in our daily relationships. And yet it is a common issue, perhaps an epidemic, among followers of Jesus when it comes to our spiritual gifts.

When I read 1 Timothy 4:14 today, I thought about how often I neglect my own spiritual gifts. And then I wondered what it looks like to really invest in those gifts. It’s easy to go through life without giving much thought, or any thought, to the the gifts God bestows upon us. We get caught up in the daily grind and the anxieties of life. We then think we deserve to relax, do nothing but what gives us pleasure. And in the process, we can go weeks, months, years, and perhaps an entire lifetime without giving serious thought to our spiritual gifts. In fact, it’s pretty easy, even common, to neglect God’s gifts to us altogether. 

Jesus told a story about 3 servants who were given bags of silver, or “talents” by a man going away on a long trip. He gave 5 bags to one, 2 bags to another, and 1 bag to the last servant. The first two servants invested their money while the last servant hid it in the ground. When the man returned, he was not happy with the last guy. Jesus applied this story to the final judgment when those who neglect their gift from God will not be living in His kingdom. This is a sobering thought, especially when we don’t seem to take this issue very seriously in the church.

And so I ask myself the question, How do I invest in my spiritual gifts? Well, I can’t invest in them if I don’t know what they are. But once I know my gifts, which for me include leadership, knowledge, and discernment, I now have the responsibility to invest in them. About nine years ago I was introduced to the concept that investing in my spiritual gifts includes more than simply using them. It was an “ah ha” moment for me. I realized that I needed to read leadership books, study God’s Word for leadership principles, and discuss leadership ideas with other leaders if I were going to invest in my gift of leadership. I realized that I needed to study God’s Word, participate in small groups, talk with people about God, spend time in prayer with God, and serve other people if I were going to invest in my gift of knowledge. I also discovered that I needed a rich devotional life when I spend time not only reading God’s Word, but listening to His voice if I were going to invest in my gift of discernment.

Do you know your spiritual gifts? Are you neglecting them? What would it look like for you to invest in the gifts God has given to you? 

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