Serving in the Church - Too Much or Not Enough?

As believers, we are all given spiritual gifts. Things that we love, things we enjoy, things that we are good at doing in service for God. When we do those things, God blesses our ministry in amazing ways. My gift is exhortation - basically a fancy way of giving advice or counsel or mentoring. It is where I see God working the most in my life. When I let God use my gift I sense the Holy Spirit guiding and directing my words and using what I say to truly encourage and uplift people. It's exciting to see! I love it! 

We all have spiritual gifts and there are many believers who are often confused about what their spiritual gift or gifts are. Chip Ingram has done an amazing series on spiritual gifts that are available as podcasts entitled: "Your Divine Design" or you can read the sermon notes here that include a definition of the different gifts. 
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them (Romans 12:6 ESV)
Unfortunately, I think there are a lot of people in the church who feel as though if there is a place in the church that is lacking, that we need to STEP UP and FILL IT UP with ourselves. WHETHER WE ARE GIFTED FOR THAT POSITION OR NOT. But you know what happens? Then that place is filled up with someone not gifted for the task. It's just filled. 

 Allow me to illustrate this further by using two women who may be just like you! 

Cindy is truly gifted in hospitality. She loves to have people in her home and get to know people and encourage them by having them in her home. In the Body of Christ, God uses her as a wonderful, vibrant "welcoming face" in the church. She makes people and visitors feel at home in the church, she assists them in finding the appropriate classes, she talks to them when they are standing by themselves, and she welcomes them to other services or even to a meal at her home. 

 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3 ESV)

One Sunday as Cindy was welcoming visitors, she realized that there needed to be a Sunday School class for the 2 and 3 year olds. The nursery was crowded and the 4 and 5 year olds were dominating the younger age class. No one else is doing anything about the problem so Cindy decided to talk to the Pastor about starting the class. Pastor, believing that this must be something that was laid on Cindy's heart, agreed. So Cindy started teaching the class.

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:4-5 

Unbeknownst to both Pastor and Cindy was Trudy. Trudy had been fighting an inner battle with the Holy Spirit. She has the gift of teaching and she knows that there is a need for a children's teacher but she keeps holding back because if she did start teaching she knows she would have to give up sleeping in on Sunday mornings. She would have to get up earlier to make sure that she was completely prepared to teach. The Holy Spirit had been working greatly in her heart but all of a sudden, Cindy started to teach the class and now Trudy can go back to sleeping in on Sundays and not using her gift - guilt free. 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
(2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV)
Cindy is not gifted in teaching the class and the little kids end up simply being babysat and taught a few songs. Cindy quickly gets frustrated with the situation and resents teaching the class. Not only that, but because she is now teaching, her gift of hospitality is not being used as it was before. She can no longer greet visitors as soon as they come in because she is busy using the copier or attending teacher's meetings. Suddenly instead of simply lacking a children's teacher, the church now lacks a children's teacher AND someone with a hospitable heart to make people feel at home in the church. 

So where are you? How do you fit in? Are you a Trudy? Are you serving the church with your gifts? Or are you fighting an inner battle with the Holy Spirit and not wanting to do what God wants you to do?

Or are you like Cindy? Are you stepping in wherever you see an area that is lacking? Are you ROBBING someone of being able to fill the place where THEY are most gifted? And in so doing, are you not completing your position in the Body of Christ that has your name on it? 

If you think this may be going on, I encourage you to talk to your pastor and see about serving where God has gifted you the most. Trust me, your pastor may know exactly where you really are gifted and can help guide you! 

In HIS Grip, 

1 comment:

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