“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy let us prophecy according to the proportion of faith.”
Do you ever get discouraged about the gifts/talents God has given you? Like somehow they are just mediocre in comparison with all the gifts you see in the lives of those around you? I know I do!! Often I tend to scrutinize my gifts to a fault and demean them into to something that’s pretty much not important at all. Why? I think it’s of because of the “grass is greener” ideology. It’s so easy to start down the path of thinking the gifts that others have are far more valuable or meaningful than my own measly gifts. But what does that say I believe about God? He values others more than me so He gave them better gifts, God is basically playing favorites and only giving the good gifts to certain people. Kinda weird to say that out loud isn’t it? We say God is a perfect Father and only gives good gifts to His children, but do we actually believe that? What do our actions and thought life say? They speak much louder than our beautiful words.
I know that’s a question I often run into, do I really believe the gifts Jesus has given me are the best gifts for me? To be honest I really believe that when we start down the path of comparison we are taking part in a pretty ingenious tactic of the enemy. If he can get us caught in the comparison game he can make us pretty ineffective, discontent, and very distracted from our main purpose: knowing Jesus! I love how Paul is talking here about all the gifts on an equal level, not comparing or exalting one above another! God has given each of us different gifts to accomplish a specific purpose. Paul brings us back into focus on what exactly we should be doing. I don’t know about you but I REALLY appreciate that! Being task oriented, I want to know exactly what’s expected of me so I can accomplish it. And that is what Paul is doing here. All throughout this chapter he is talking both to the individual and also to the body of Christ as a whole. Pleading with us to present our bodies and all of us to Jesus. Not just our hands or our intellects, but also our dreams and aspirations, the gifts that He has given us! Paul is spelling out how we are to first lay ourselves before Jesus and then to pick up the gifts that he’s given us and start getting to work! First he goes through some of the specific jobs (teachers-teach, ministers-minister, prophecy-prophesy, etc. ) and basically says to each: do what you have been called to do. But he doesn’t leave it there!
He also tells us how we are to use our gifts, how we are supposed to accomplish the tasks Jesus has set before us. We are supposed to do it with love that doesn’t change, blessing those that curse us, being hospitable, being kindly affectionate, etc. He shows us the way and how we’re supposed to walk in it. Notice Paul is not exalting some gifts above others as better. NO! He calls us to work in whatever it is Jesus has personally created us for! Work within our passions and do it with love ! There are no “levels of holiness”, just a call to go deeper into knowing Jesus, and how? Through the gifts that He himself gave us. In Christ, the most holy thing we can do is give all of ourselves to Him, and work with all of our being to do what He has called us to with excellence! Jesus has put in you life experiences, skills, and passions for a reason. Our Savior knows us better than we know ourselves and has put in us the perfect gifts for each of us and given us grace for our specific gifts. Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t think Jesus gives us grace to try and do the gifts He has given to someone else to do. But! We have ample grace for the gifts He has given to us personally! Will you work in that? Will I work in that? Will we take joy in the journey and take up our task to work with excellence in the gifts God has given us personally? I hope and pray the answer is yes! Jesus works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure! My prayer is that we will join with Him in what He has purposed for each of our lives!