Doing the Important Things

One of the clich?s plaguing the church is “spiritual giftedness,” the idea that God has uniquely equipped each Christian to excel in performing certain tasks in the kingdom. “Spiritual giftedness,” as popularly put forward, has spiritual snob appeal.
We spend time considering how we can distinguish ourselves. We long for an opportunity to offer those exceptional things to God. This mindset enshrines spiritual arrogance in the self-absorbed pursuit of the extraordinary.
As with most heresies, the preoccupation with spiritual gifts contains a grain of truth. God does work in the church to accomplish great things, but not always in a way we would expect.
Abounding in the Work of the Lord
The Lord has richly blessed his people in his service. Sometimes God empowers extraordinary men and women to accomplish amazing acts of great service. God’s grace, however, more often finds expression in a colorless and commonplace manner. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (cf. James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).
The greatness of our service is not measured by the extraordinary abilities we display, but by the extraordinary greatness of the God we serve. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58, ESV).
The Spirituality of the Ordinary
Think how often we see a situation and say, “somebody ought to do something.” We wonder why the elders, the preacher, or the deacons have not seen to the work of the church, but we never take time to get our own hands dirty. How we can know what our spiritual gifts are? Perhaps we should look around, see what needs to be done, and then figure out the contribution we can make.
Rather than wonder what extraordinary things God has for us to do, we should roll up our sleeves and work at the many ordinary tasks at hand, “as one who serves by the strength that God supplies” (1 Peter 4:11). Even a six year-old can send a note of encouragement to a shut-in, but so can a forty-six year-old. Almost anyone could do this ordinary job. Yet we sometimes pass by these ordinary opportunities to serve while we wait for the opportunities that will showcase our “special talents.”
Like the priest and the Levite on their way to Jerusalem, we pass by on the other side of mundane service opportunities. We leave the commonplace acts of service for the commonplace people to accomplish. Waiting for that spectacular moment that makes use of what we perceive as our special and extraordinary gifts, we permit countless mundane opportunities to pass us by. Yet, it is often those mundane opportunities that best reflect the love of Christ.

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Greg Tidwell

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