Different Gifts

“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:6-8).
“One hundred feet is a long way up in the air to be holding on to a two inch pipe.” Those were my thoughts as I watched two Bangladeshis erecting a receiver for broadband internet service at Khulna Bible College. The receiving unit was mounted to the top of a mast composed of five sections of pipe, each smaller in diameter than the one below it, with the largest section being six inches. The mast was almost seventy feet tall, and it in turn was mounted atop our three story building. Much of the work of assembly was done at the very top of the structure by those two men.
Now, that is just not my thing. I can do some things, but hanging that far up in the air is not my gift. However, I am sure happy that some people can function well in those conditions. There are a lot of jobs that need doing, and somehow it seems that there are people with the ability and desire to do them.
That is just as true in the spiritual realm as in the secular. In the Church, there are many essential tasks. Not all of us are suited to any particular task, and certainly, no one is able to do them all. Nor is it necessary. Paul said, “When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men … And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:8,11). Other gifts are listed in 1 Corinthians 12, and Romans 12. The point is simply that we are all different, with gifts (abilities and resources) distinctly our own.
This is not to say that any particular one of us is unique or indispensable. My gift may not be rare or especially valuable. I may be ordinary in skills and abilities. But common as I may be, I remain useful. There are things we each can do, which need to be done, and which will further the purpose of the Kingdom. Our task is to “think soberly” (Romans 12:3) so as to identify our gift(s) and to then use it or them appropriately. Such sober thinking and responsible activity brings edification and growth to the Church (Ephesians 4:12-16), and fulfillment to ourselves.

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Michael Brooks

Since 1988 Mike and his wife Brenda have been involved in foreign missions in South America, Africa, and South Asia. Beginning in 1999 they devoted full time to missions, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.

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