FIRST-PERSON: Mining your spiritual gifts
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP)--In his book on diamonds, Mathew Hart says that diamond producers "basically have convinced people to buy a product worth nothing. You can't drive it ... make it into clothes ... roof your house with it. It's just a fantastically wonderful, glorious blaze of something that has no value whatever except that it looks really great."
The same God who has sprinkled beautiful diamonds beneath the earth has also deposited a storehouse of spiritual gifts for His children to unearth in their service for Him.
WHAT GIFT DO YOU HAVE?
A spiritual gift is more than "a wonderful, glorious blaze of something that has no value." God's spiritual gifts to us can best be described as special abilities He gives to be used in His service.
The Bible talks about the gifts of evangelism, teaching, giving, etc. Naturally, all of us are to be faithful givers to God's work, but some people seem to have an unusual ability to make and give money to finance Gospel endeavors.
The Colgate-Palmolive Company was started by a young man who had this gift. When William Colgate left home at 16, his father was too poor to keep him at home and said he must make a living for himself. William had no skills except making soap and candles.
"Well," said a neighbor, "let me pray with you and give you a little advice." After praying, the old man said, "Someone will soon be the leading soap maker in New York. It can be you as well as anyone.... Be a good man, give your heart to Christ, give the Lord all that belongs to Him of every dollar you earn, make an honest soap, give a full pound, and I am certain you will yet be a prosperous and rich man."
When William arrived in New York, he dedicated himself to Christ, joined a church and began tithing from the first dollar he earned. Late in his life, he had become so successful that he devoted 100 percent of his yearly income to the Lord. Great Gospel projects were underwritten through his generosity.
The Bible lists nearly 20 different spiritual gifts. God gives many different kinds of abilities and opportunities to His children, and our job is to get to work, faithfully serving as He leads us.
UNEARTHING YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFT
Perhaps the best way to unearth your spiritual gift is just to get busy. Ask the Lord to show you how you should serve Him, then get involved in His work. It will become increasingly clear how He has gifted you as you grow in Christ, volunteer for different ministries at church and find opportunities to extend and strengthen His Kingdom.
Diamonds are unearthed from below, but spiritual gifts are dispensed from above. Just as diamonds are rough and uncut when first discovered, your spiritual gift may need to be developed and polished. But don't be discouraged. Just get busy with the opportunity currently at hand, and you'll gradually grow more and more comfortable with what God has called you to do with the abilities He has given you.
Here's the way the Apostle Peter put it: "God has given gifts to each of you from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God's generosity can flow through you. Are you called to be a speaker? Then speak as though God Himself were speaking through you. Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 4:10-11).
A.T. Pierson, a Bible teacher from an earlier era, said, "Everyone has some gift, therefore all should be encouraged. No one has all the gifts, therefore all should be humble. All the gifts are for one Body, therefore all should be harmonious. All the gifts are needful, therefore all should be faithful."
As you find and use your spiritual gift, you'll be richer than the wealthiest diamond miner. And as you serve Christ, He will use you in ways that outlast the brightest stars and that outshine the most dazzling diamonds on earth.
David Jeremiah is the founder of the radio and television program "Turning Point for God," and pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. For more information on Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.