When the Holy Spirit engineers the timing of certain events, I’m always amazed by his attention to detail! That’s exactly what happened this weekend when PLC hosted a seminar about “Spiritual Gifts” and Pastor Rob preached his message on that very subject. “There were no spectators in the early church,” Pastor Rob told us by way of encouraging us to discover our spiritual gifts and use them.
In my way of thinking, those words dove-tailed with our seminar presenter’s encouragement to spell ‘faith’ – R-I-S-K. You see, it takes being willing to risk to step out in faith and try something new, especially when it involves spiritual matters and supernatural things. Most of us don’t want to risk failure or to be seen as incompetent (or fanatical), do we? So we stay with what’s safe. What we know. The early church followers of Jesus didn’t take that path. In fact, in Corinth they were so zealous to use spiritual gifts when they got together in worship services that Paul had to admonish them to be more orderly and take turns. “Follow the way of love…try to excel in gifts that build up the church,” he told them. (1 Corinthians 14:1,12)
Empowered by the Holy Spirit and his gifts, the early believers went about building the church throughout the world, both in numbers of converts and in modeling their lives after Jesus’ life. They followed what Jesus had taught them – how to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God, how to lay hands on the sick for healing, when to cast out demons, and the importance of listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Jesus also gave them – and us – the authority of His name by which to do these things. (The Great Commission, Matthew 18:28.)
This weekend, our Spiritual Gifts seminar presenter likened the gifts of the spirit to tools in a tool box, with each one of the gifts available to every believer when the need arises. But, our teacher assured us, the Holy Spirit needs our cooperation – we have to be willing to take a risk and use the tool God gives. If the Lord seems to have you using one tool more than any other, he may be in the process of developing a ministry in that area of your life. But one way or the other, as Pastor Rob said, “We each have something to offer. Each part of the body is dependent on the grace of God and empowered by him.” The result is that we become a witness to the world that Jesus is the head of the body, the church (Col. 1:18). And where he is, there’s wholeness, health and unity.