What Is Your Gift?

Romans 12:1-8

My Saturday nights have been invaded by glitter and ballroom recently. Outvoted three to one, I have to surrender to the fact that Strictly Come Dancing will be part of my life. All the stars work hard at their dance and most produce something that reflects the moves they are supposed to be doing. However, even I can see that some of the stars are more naturally gifted in dance than others. Sometimes we just have to knuckle down and learn our moves in life, but we truly flourish when we live within the areas God has gifted us. This weekend we aim to understand how we discover those areas, and how that might bring His kingdom closer to hand.

Speaking Notes – Caveat

These notes are my speaking notes and are provided as an accompaniment to the recording. Please accept that they are not intended to be a published grammatically correct essay. I do hope and pray however they help you move towards Jesus.

Now onto the content…

I remember playing football as a child in my Junior school. One of four boys football was everything in our house. Dad was Pompey mad and played Sunday league football and my three brothers loved all things football. I remember It was the end of the season at my school and my football coach was chatting to my Dad on the football pitch. I walked up to them and the coach turned to the ten-year-old version of me and said. Well, you have had a great season and next year you will be captain of the team.  My response was quick.

“No, I’m not, because I am not playing football next year.”

To be fair dad did seem a little heartbroken, but he never stopped me. You see I had been playing football, not because I was good at it, not because it energised me, but because I wanted to please my dad. I wanted dad to love me. And finally that season, I understood Dad loved me anyway. Whether I played football or not Dad loved me for who I was not for what I did.

As I sat down to prepare to talk to you about what you do with the skills and gifts God has given you, I was reminded of that story.

The parallel is clear, isn’t it?

As we look what we are a good at, what energises us. What gifts we have and how we use those God-given gifts. It might be that we use them for God in business, it might be that we use them in the community or in the church. But we do that not to earn God’s love, because he loves us already. No, we use our gifts for the love of God and the love of people as a response to what He has already done for us. Not to earn His love. So today we will discover that we all have gifts and skills we can use for God.

We Are All Different With Different Gifts

And what a variety of skills and gifts we have here in Bedhampton. We have those who are musical, those who can teach. There are people who care for others, There are people who pray without ceasing. Those who lead, whilst others can speak of Jesus. There are people who can see what God has planned for Bedhampton and yet others who are great at administration and organisation. And the list of gifts and skills goes on, and on, and on.

But even as I say that some of you are thinking.

‘Not me I’m not very good at anything. I’m too old, too young, I don’t have any gifts or skills God could use.’

But that attitude is the attitude imparted to you by our glorious world and the media, not by God. Actually, God says of you that you are the crucial part of the human story. Our Reading said what God thinks of you.

4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5

You have skills and gifts that your neighbour doesn’t have. They have skills and gifts that you don’t. Together we are the whole, we are God’s church here in Bedhampton.

This rings true, doesn’t it? Because God always uses a range of imperfect people to impart his love to others.

For example. Would you pick a murderer, which a speech impediment to lead your people? No? God did, that is who Moses was if you look at his story.

How about a leader of another faith who persecuted Christians? Yep, you guessed it, before he started following Jesus that is who Paul was and he wrote big chunks of the Bible.

And yet someone how we think God couldn’t possibly use us, He couldn’t possibly have given us skills and gifts to be used in this his world, His church.

But I am here to tell you those ‘I’m not good enough’ ideas are not biblical.

Let me ram this home by reading to you a different part of your Bible.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:27-28

What Are Your Gifts

So if it is true that you have gifts and skills that God can use then there are two questions to for us to ask ourselves

1. What are the gifts and skills you do have?

2. And how can you use them to show love to God and other people?

To answer the first question is going to take you to spend some time thinking and praying. Because up to now I have been using the words skills and gifts interchangeably. But a couple of months back we had a giftings day course. A day for us to discover what gifts we have. And as it was explained to us on that course, skills and gifts are actually slightly different to each other.

Skills are those things you are good at, but they may not be those things that bring you joy. The world is interested in what you are skilful at because that is useful to their business or their needs. As a ten-year-old boy, I was good at football, but I didn’t enjoy it, it did not energise me. That is a skill and not a gift.

I know that a number of people were surprised that things they were good at and had been doing for many years drained them of energy, that is because they were skills and not gifts. It may be that for a while we need to do those things we are skillful at even though they are draining, but we are never going to reach our full potential in Jesus if we spend time in our skills and don’t find out what our giftings actually are.

A Gift is something that God has enabled you to do, such that when you have done it you feel energised. I never felt that I was gifted in speaking to people about Jesus. But what I found over the years is that whenever I do speak to people about how amazing Jesus is, I come away full of energy, and they seem to benefit from the conversation as well. I realised that this was a gift. It was a gift that scared me rigid, but it was a gift that I was going to have to use because it was a gift God had given me.

What are your gifts? Take a moment in quiet or discuss with the person next to you to think about what you really enjoy.

The Big Idea

I think one of the biggest take homes for me from our giftings day was the understanding that

The world wants to know what you are skilled at, but God wants you to recognise the gifts He has given you.

If you trust me and believe that this is a true statement then we need to answer our final question

How can you use your gifts to show love to God and other people?

That my friends is a very personal question and one you and God need to work out. But I do have some suggestions of how we as a church might help in that. As a church, over the next few months, we are going to be building an understanding of what God’s vision for us here in Bedhampton is. I can tell you what it is right now. God’s vision for us will be that we love Him, and love people. He tells us that in this book. But what the nuances of that are for us as a church we will work out over the next few months. More about that next week.

But for now, I want to say there will be opportunities for everyone to use their gifts here in Bedhampton as we walk through that, towards Jesus into our future. Whether you have been coming to this church for 40 minutes or 40 years if you are serious about following Jesus and working out what gifts you have there will be an opportunity to live that out here. If you have been in the clique or the outside of it and have and felt rejected in the past but you are serious about following Jesus and discovering your gifts you will be welcomed here. But I am not going to chase you. You will need to step up and speak to me.

As we finish, you go you might go with a number of scenarios.

  1. You might go, knowing your gifts and perfectly happy use them where you currently are. Brilliant
  2. You might go, not knowing your gifts. If that is you let me help you discover I will take time for you. That’s what I do.
  3. Or you might go, knowing your gifts, but not wanting to use them because your scared, or plain worried it’s going to mean work. If that is you, let me help you discover what God has for you, I promise I won’t press gang you into church work. God may well have other plans for you. Trust me.

But whatever you do don’t go and live a life of quiet desperation. Jesus died on the cross for you so that you might have life and life to the full. That you might discover who God made you to be. Don’t miss what that might be, it’s not too late.

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