By Norman Ridenhour
Baptist layman and retired journalist
Scriptures tell us that all of mankind have been given a gift from God. The question is, “Do you know what gift or gifts God has bestowed on you. If not, is there a way to find your gift and then use it?”
A previous minister of mine, Daniel Moore, told our congregation “You exist for one reason — to learn how to praise and serve God.” He added, “We have the praise part down pat, it’s the service phase where we are lacking.”
I had to think long and hard about that but other ministers I’ve known have said, “We will spend eternity praising God, serving God, and being taught by God.” While my faith studies fall short of those who have dedicated their lives to serving God, it does make sense.
I don’t know what will happen in heaven and neither do any of those still living among us. I have read, however, that all things will be made known to us at that time. I’m sure we all have a lot of questions but don’t know if I have the gall to ask it.
There are ways to find what gifts you have been blessed with, and God wants you to use them. How you ask? The internet has many tests you can take, designed by very talented people. I took two such tests and the results were what I expected: writing and teaching.
While there are many such tests, I took the first two to show up on my computer. The first was “spiritualgiftstest.com” and the other “gifts.churchgrowth.org.” The questions are lengthy and sometimes uncomfortable. But you must be honest with your answers or you’re wasting your time.
After reading the results, I received instructions on my next moves.
Of course, serving God is not limited to the walls of the church, but we believe that is the best place to start. God has placed pastors and leaders in the church to equip us for the work of ministry. It is His design that those of use who serve Him should be mentored and built up in the church, as well as held to a high standard in our service.
Spiritualgiftstest.com also made an obvious note: “Like any gift, a spiritual gift is meant to be opened, put to use and enjoyed. God is pleased when we put our gifts into action because using them is an expression of our faith in Him, as well as our obedience to His call and purpose for our lives. It also demonstrates our love for both God and our neighbor, fulfilling the greatest commandment of Scripture.”
If you take the test and are serious about using the gift or gifts God bestowed upon you, one can only realize God has done so for a purpose with the expectation of results that glorify God.
So, what spiritual gifts are known to us? Well, there’s prophecy, apostleship, evangelism, leadership, teaching, exhortation, shepherding, mercy, serving, administration, and more.
One of my favorites is supporting our leaders. Those who preach and teach often wonder if their work and efforts are showing the results they seek. Tell them, encourage them, take them to lunch or for that matter treat the whole staff to a sit-down meal. They need to know they are appreciated and you support them.
Gifts.churchgrowth.org points out in their gifts report: “Prayer and serving God will also help you see where God wants you to serve in ministry in your church and daily life. Their profile gives you a simple bar graph showing your strengths and weaknesses and analyzes in depth your dominant team gifts.”
How can you use your gift? You can serve as a Sunday School teacher, small group leader, pastor or assistant pastor, bus captain, special leader (such as youth, children, men, etc.), nursery worker, shelter volunteer, or tutor students.
No one is telling you to travel the world to use your gift. There are plenty of opportunities to serve in your own church and community.
So the question is: “Do you really want to know your gift? If you find the gift will you use it? And most importantly, do you believe that God gave you this gift and expects you to use it?” One must believe that God sends no one on a journey without the means to be successful. So the next question is “Do you trust God to stand with and strengthen you on a quest He sent you on.
Personally, I was afraid to seek God’s will because it usually means doing something I don’t want to do, working with people I don’t like and remembering how many (Christians) considered me an outcast.
But a greater fear is standing before God and when asked: “Why didn’t you use the gifts I bestowed upon you?” Do you tell God “I didn’t like the gift, I expected more!”
Free will means you have a choice to believe or not, serve Him or not, be a positive influence or not, tell others about the sacrifice of Christ or not. But we must realize there are consequences for every decision and action we take. That day of judgement is coming.
Are you ready to stand before God and be judged on the life you lived? You better be! B&R