The Gifts Within

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On Sunday Sister Ima brought her testimony, which was powerful in its humility, and insight.  The service’s theme was a reflection on the power of “ordinary” Christians to do great things.  Ima spoke about her inward faith, and how it made an impact into the life of her, then non-Christian, husband.  She told how her life of prayer and dedication, not expressions of ostentatiousness, but of simple faith, changed him by her example.  She went on to speak about the misfortune of a work-mate, whose family circumstances left in distress.  Ima, in living up to Christ’s call to “love your neighbour” showed acts of kindness, and has since changed the life of this family, again through prayer and example.

Pastor Vince expanded on this message by talking about some of his recent experiences where whole congregations reached out to touch, pray, and support one another.  Jesus called all Christians to “go into the world.” And in order to prepare us for this call, He has equipped each of us with the gifts necessary to fulfill to roles given to us by His Spirit.

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (Ephesians 4: 11-12).”

But not only these,

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines (1 Corinthians 12: 4-11).”

“Just as He determines.” We are gifted in building up the body.  Not all are pastors, but this does not mean that we “leave the work to the pastors.”  We each have gifts. We may only lack the confidence to use them.

I have had several Wizard of Oz moments recently.  Okay, some background first, I am a theologian and ecclesiastical historian. I have training, education, and experience.  But the Spirit is more powerful than any university or education system. He gives Christians the gifts mentioned. I am at times humbled by the knowledge and faith of my brothers and sisters.  I love learning from them!  Yes, I learn as they offer insights and experiences beyond my “book learning.”  This is not to say that I have nothing to offer, but it is all in the balance that Christ has constructed a body “just as He determines,” each uplifting and complimenting the gifts of others.

For those lacking confidence, trust in Him who is in you.  Remember the Wizard of Oz gave nothing to the Lion or Tin Man they didn’t already have within them.



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