New Hope Notes
All God's Chillun Got Gifts
Making Mondays Count
Pastor Guy Higashi
When the Lord walked the earth during His three years of ministry, He chose twelve individuals for whom He tapped into their potential and they changed the world. This auditorium seats 1,200 people with seating for 600 more outside and we [
Yes, there is a dream, a potential that lays dormant in every one of us. This is called a gift. And all God’s children have gifts. Take a look at the lyrics of this African American spiritual song, it says, “I got a robe, you got a robe. All God’s children got a robe. I got wings, you got wings. All God’s children got wings. I got a shoe, you got a shoe. All God’s children got a shoe. I got a harp, you got a harp. All God’s children got a harp.”
Although our gifts differ from person to person, God want us to use our gifts for the same purpose: to serve Him. God’s dream is that each of us understand we are special and that He has divinely created and equipped each and every one of us, as well as inspired our hearts to serve Him. These gifts that He has placed within us are beyond our capacity and are presents from God just waiting to be opened. Thus, we’ll need to find out what these gifts are and invest in them for the Kingdom of God. Here is what the scriptures tell us:
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1Pet. -11).
Scholars believe this scripture was written during a trying time, a time of persecution in which Christians may be subject to harsh punishment, if not death, for their beliefs in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Yet this scripture, scholars believe, was written as an ending of a sermon to encourage us to discover and use our gifts for God’s glory.
So what spiritual gifts has God given to you? I encourage you to take the spiritual gifts test that is located at the
1. LOOK AT YOUR STRENGTHS AND NOT YOUR WEAKNESSES.
Our strengths are given to us by God Himself and we should honor Him for it. All too often we are told to focus on our weaknesses so that we may become better because of them. Although that may be true, we really should focus on what our strengths are.
“…whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies…” (1Pet. ).
Listen, when we work with our gifts we acquire a passion for them. And when we function in our strengths for the purposes of God, we usually do so with great joy. Then, although we may all have different gifts from one another, we can all love and serve one another joyfully. By doing so, we are sharing God’s love with others.
The second way to making the most of our gifts is…
2. DON’T DEVALUE THE GIFT GOD HAS GIVEN YOU BY WANTING SOMEONE ELSE’S GIFT.
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1Pet. ). Remember, it is a special gift to you. It is an endowment, an inheritance from God for the purpose of His Kingdom.
I remember a gentleman by the name Arnold Takaki, an elder in a church. He told me while he was doing his devotions he found a scripture that touched him. It said, “When you have done it to the least of my brothers, you have done it unto me”. This touched Arnold and his passion was to help those less fortunate than himself although he wasn’t sure how he was going to do this because it was tough for him to love those that are difficult to love. Yet,
He went on and shared a story. A man who was less than fortunate showed up at church one day. Everyone knew he was poor by the scent he had on him. The smell made
It was in that moment God gave
As for us, we may yearn for other types of gifts but we should not devalue the ones that God has for us. Here is a list of some of the spiritual gifts that God gives:
“Now there are a varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit…and a varieties of ministries, but the same Lord …for one is give wisdom …another knowledge …faith …healing …miracles …prophecy …tongues …interpretation of tongues …apostles …prophets …teachers …helps …administration…” (1Cor. 12:4-28).
It is important to understand the difference between natural abilities (based upon your experiences) and spiritual gifts. Spiritual endowments are God gifts to you. Some of you may have already taken the spiritual gift test so you have an idea of what your gifts are. You may have also noticed certain gifts are stronger than others. If you notice that you have many gifts, this is called a cluster of gifts and at times, one may seem to rise more than the others.
You may not think that you have any gifts but, rest assured, you do. We all have them; we just need to figure out what they are. Some are apostolic, exhortation, encouragement, administration, leadership, etc. One of my wife’s gifts is that she is a prayer warrior!
If we look in 1Pet. 4, it talks about specific gifts. You’ll notice it talks a lot about hospitality – the gift of serving food and opening your home to visitors and travelers. If you were a Christian back in biblical days you were sought out to be persecuted. Hence, a place was needed for you to sleep and food to eat. Likewise, hospitality is still important today – to welcome others.
All of us can treat others with kindness. All of us can love others that are different from us. I encourage you to practice being hospitable to others at home and at work. We can do this at the shopping mall, in the parking lots and on the roads where we drive. It is a random act of kindness that touches a heart.
So, focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses. Don’t devalue the gift God has given you by wanting someone else’s gift. And finally, the third way to making the most of your gifts is…
3. TELL YOURSELF
“…employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1Pet. )
You may or may not have heard of a man named Warren Buffet. He is a multi-billionaire, rated as having a net worth of sixty-two billion dollars. Time Magazine has rated him as one of the top one hundred most influential people in the world. In 2006, Buffet announced he would give away at least eighty-three percent of his net worth.
Now wouldn’t it be nice if we were known as philanthropists who are free to give away things? Despite all the money Buffet gives way, perhaps the greatest thing we’ve received from Buffet is the wisdom he shares with us: I get up everyday and I get the chance to do what I love and I love to do it everyday; and if there’s anything you can learn from me the best advice I can give you is to do that.
What Buffet is doing is operating in his strengths; he’s an investor and a business person. And because he’s successful in business, he’s able to give away money. As for us, if we discover what our strengths are and we operate with them, every morning can be a joy for us as well. Going to work becomes a joy for us because we’re working not only in the area of our passion but in an area of our gift.
We’ve mentioned about different spiritual gifts and about natural abilities that are also given. Here is what 1Cor. 12 tells us (1Pet. 4 talked about it as well), “He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ” (Eph. -12 NLT).
This scripture is distinctive; it is different from the previous scriptures we’ve talked about. This scripture says that people are God’s gift, so not only has God given us spiritual gifts but we are gifts to the world and for the Kingdom of God.
Again, I encourage you to find what your spiritual gifts are and discover how God can use our natural abilities and experiences. If anything, I encourage you to embrace the fact that you are a gift! You are unique! You are indeed a piece of God’s masterpiece puzzle. To illustrate this, here is a story about three trees.
Once there were three trees sitting on a majestic mountain. The first little tree says to the other trees, “When I grow up I want to be a treasure chest. I want to be one that has gold and silver on me. I want to be adorned and lined with jewels. And I want to be a treasure chest where kids would put all their special things in me and I will be a gift for the king.”
Then, the second little tree said, “When I grow up I want to be a super mooring ship. I want to be a ship that can sail on the roughest seas, a ship that kings will transport, travel, and go to battles with.”
And, the third little tree said, “I would like to be the tallest tree on this mountain. Where everyone would look at me and say, ‘Ahhh, there is a God! Because only a God could make a tree so big.’”
Well, the three trees grew, flourished and became tall. Then one day, three lumber jacks came into the forest. One of the lumber jacks looked at the first tree and said, “Perfect!” Then he cut it down. The tree thought, “Ahhh! Certainly I will be that treasure chest.” However, when the wood cutter worked on him, he made this tree into a feeding trough. When he was done, he sold it to a farmer. The little tree thought, “But I wanted to be a treasure chest.”
Well the second tree was also cut down. And the wood cutter made the tree into a little fishing boat. In fact, it was so little that it couldn’t cross rough seas, but instead could only cross a calm lake.
The third tree was taken as well and he was made into two huge beams but then left aside and forgotten.
As the story continues, the first tree on the farm housed a child of a traveling couple who had nowhere else to stay because there was no room at the inn. This tree then discovered he wasn’t a treasure chest but rather a manger that held the greatest treasure ever: the King of all kings.
The second tree, although not a mooring ship, heard all the passengers aboard him crying out in fear. He listened as a man stood at the front of the boat and said, “Peace!” and the seas calmed. The second tree discovered that he was carrying Jesus who was the Messiah.
The third tree that was cut into beams was pulled out on a Friday. He was formed into a cross but then in a cruel and brutal way, a man was nailed to that cross. That man was the King of all kings and it is because of the pain and suffering of this man – Jesus Christ – that the cross now stands as the symbol of God.
So you see, each of these trees didn’t see the strength in them that God did. They had a different view of what they wanted to be yet God used each of them in a unique way. And in the same way God used them, He uses us in a unique way. We are gifts for the purposes of God so do well and serve Him well! And one day He will say unto you, “Well done my good and faithful servant!”
1. What are your spiritual gifts? List them.
2. In what ministries or areas in life have you applied (or can you apply) these gifts?
3. In what ways has God used (or can God use) them for His Kingdom?
4. What impacted you most and how will you be a better person because of it?