Posts Tagged ‘service’

We have “faculties, talents and qualities” that contribute to our uniqueness. They are gifts. Some of these gifts travel through our family lines, some appear supernaturally, some are discovered after years of disuse, but all are from God and given in grace. Exercising those gifts is a choice.

Romans 12:6-8
Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is] prophecy . . . practical service . . . teaching . . . encouraging . . . contributing to the needs of others . . . leadership . . . showing mercy . . . .
Amplified and NIV combined

Out of this list, I can manifest some of these attributes by sheer will. I can serve others or encourage, I can even contribute to the needs of others and I am working on showing mercy. These are all good things to have and employ. We would all do well to work on these areas of our lives.

Some people are simply gifted with these attributes and the expression of these gifts is instinctive. And yet, lots of the same folks don’t seem to realize they have the gifts and as a result, the gifts are under-used and the community suffers. Maybe it’s because people don’t even realize how important they are to the body of Christ . . . to the koinonia.

Paul specifically noted these gifts and although I’m sure the list is not necessarily exclusive, clearly these attributes are essential to any team or group (Christian or not, I’d say). There is always a need for visionaries (prophesying) while others handle the practicalities. Some must teach while those who struggle need to be encouraged by those who can see future success in anyone. There are those who understand and multiply resources for the good of all and there are those who can see the big picture and put the puzzle pieces together. And in a thriving group, there will be those whose mercy weaves compassion, gentleness, and forgiveness throughout.

What are your gifts? Do you have one or many? What is the gift of the one beside you? What is mine?

Remember, these gifts are given by grace. Whenever grace is involved, it means there is no “worthiness” involved. The gifts are undeserved and cannot be bought or earned. And yet, all are needed for a fully functioning koinonia.

If you are an encourager, then I exhort you to draw forth the natural gifts of those around you. It may be this role that is most essential to building a truly viable community.

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It’s been 2000 (+/-) years since the Christ died and rose again and Paul wrote his epistles, and yet, Christians are still struggling with the “new way” of the Spirit. I am no different.

Romans 7:6
But now, by dying [in Christ] to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

The struggle is caused by the domino design: one piece depends on the other. In order to do anything by the Spirit, one has to be in tune with the Spirit, that is, able to hear/feel/see the Spirit within. Another word for this is “abiding.” And in order to abide in Christ, we must know Christ. And to know Christ, we must spend time with Christ.

To serve in the “new way,” I must respond to the promptings of the Spirit to act. Service is action, love, and generally, outside my personal space. Service implies work that benefits “the other.”

One irony is that I am already serving. I mean, I am busy! My daytime job is service-based and I am spending 40 plus hours a week helping patrons and staff get the information and materials they need or want. I am a volunteer and serve on several committees and Boards. I am a Bible teacher and serve at my church. I am a mother/wife and serve my family (sometimes with joy but too often with that “unappreciated” feeling of irritation).

Am I serving in the new way? I don’t know. I don’t think so. There isn’t much room for serving at the prompting of the Spirit. Either I am too busy to hear or just too busy to add another task to my calendar.

I don’t want to drop into the “shoulds” of service. That’s not my intent. But I am saying I might be missing something better, sweeter, and more meaningful. There is freedom in the Way but there is also guidance. It’s not the rigidity of the law but wisdom.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” [James 1:5]

So be it. Give me wisdom oh God, that I might hear your still small voice and respond to the needs of others with grace and sensitivity. Guide my service.

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