Doing God's Will Series: Week Four
Read Psalm 36: 9.
Consider the light which illumines this page, and the sunlight which illumines the earth and the moon. Ponder how light comes works in silence. Imagine the way the dawn gently brightens the world. How has God the Holy Spirit worked in your life in gentle, quiet ways? Are there some works of God which can only be discerned from the perspective of years rather than days? Consider that the very impulse toward Christ which is in you is a gift of the Holy Spirit who dwells in your heart. Give thanks today for God’s humble, warming, gently powerful Spirit.
Read Romans 12: 3-8.
This excerpt from a novel by Orson Scott Card may provide some direction in how we discover our gifts. Just translate Card’s use of knack into the spiritual gifts we have been considering:
When Taleswapper says he’s got no knack, though, I’ll tell you, he’s wrong. Like a lot of folks, he has a knack and doesn’t even know it because that’s the way knacks work--it just feels as natural as can be to the person who’s got it, as easy as breathing, so you don’t think that could possibly be your unusual power because heck, that’s easy. You don’t know it’s a knack till other people around you get all astonished about it or upset or excited or whatever feelings your knack seems to provoke in folks. Then you go, “Boy howdy, other folks can’t do this! I got me a knack!” and from then on there’s no putting up with you till you finally settle down and get back to normal life and stop bragging about how you can do this fool thing that you used never to be excited about back when you still had some sense.
Some folks never know they got them a knack, though,
because nobody else ever notices it either...
Consider: Why does a gift feel so natural to the one who has it while seeming so extraordinary to those who don’t?
Why do people not know they have a gift until someone else points it out to them? What help would you like from others in the process of discerning your spiritual gift?
Read I Corinthians 1: 4-9.
As you consider the wonderful news that you have been given gifts by the Holy Spirit, what do you expect they will turn out to be? Which gifts do you long to have? Consider in prayer what draws you to these particular gifts and discuss with God how you would like to employ them in the church. Make a mental note to check your expectations and hopes with what the inventory reveals.
Read I Corinthians 12: 1-11.
Why didn’t God give all the gifts to every person? What are the advantages in our having differing gifts? What is difficult in requiring the gifts of others in your church? What is exciting about needing each other in that way? Consider the people in your group as you pray for them, and give thanks for how each plays a unique part.
Read I Corinthians 12: 12-27.
What might cause one part of the body to want to be as another part? How does the absurd image of the whole body being an eye or an ear help us see the importance of a variety of gifts? Following this anatomical image, where would you locate yourself and your gifts on the body Christ? Are you more out there in the fray as a hand, or do you need more special covering in order to function best? Can you identify the importance of your place to the good of the whole?
Read 2 Timothy 1: 6-7.
What risks do we take in offering our spiritual gifts in service to the church? What practical ways can we encourage each other to use our spiritual gifts? How does using gifts “fan the flame” of church life and spiritual expression? Consider in prayer today those people whom you will encourage.
Read Ephesians 4: 7-13.
Note that the various gifts of leadership are given “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ...” How is this different from the idea that clergy are supposed to do the work of ministry? How would the church change if the leaders saw their role as equipping all the people for doing the work of the church, each one sharing in that labor? How would the clergy and church professionals change if they focussed more on equipping the church for its work? Prayer for your leaders and pastors today.