SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2012
DEPLOYING GIFTS FOR MINISTERIAL PURPOSES
‘There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same spirit is the source of them all. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other’ -I Cor. 12v4, 7.
APOSTLE Paul spoke to believers that everyone is endowed from the same spirit. The essence of gifts is to help each other and build up the body of Christ.
The implication of the above is that in the Church of Jesus Christ, both the ordained and the laity are gifted in order to support the work of the ministry. None is left out because God has deposited in everyone some kind of gift or the other.
Jesus saw in the early disciples great patience. They were not temperamental men on the Sea of Galilee. At a time they toiled all night and caught nothing. At the moment of despondency, Jesus came and asked them to cast their net into the deep. Peter said: ‘at your word, I will let down the net’. They were surprised at the great catch. They persevered, hence the miracle. Jesus, seeing their patience, changed their profession from catching fish to catching human beings.
God hopes the gift deposited in each believer would be used to build and support the work of the ministry.
A great problem that faces believers, however, is that many do not know their gifts. Understandably, none can be ‘jack of all trade’. The work of the ministry calls for specifics. So, how can one discover his gift?
The below might not be exhaustive but could help a person discover his gift area. Prayer: ask God daily to reveal to you your gift -Matt. 7v7; familiarise yourself with portions of the scriptures that teach about gifts –Rom. 12; I Cor. 12; Eph. 4; I Pet. 4; put your suspected gift to work, experiment with it; seek the opinion of mature Christians.
When the gift is discovered, practical steps must be taken to allow it come to life and be used to support the ministry. Let it be stated that God’s gift is not for self-glorification but for the edification of believers.
Some believers use their gifts well. Think of the ministry of Priscilla and Aquila and the role they played in the life of Apollos by establishing him in the faith. God eventually used him to confound unbelieving Jews.
Notice also the seven Deacons appointed in the early Church for ministration. Their qualifications were: full of the spirit, knowledge and wisdom. They served well. Today, in the Anglican Church, this forms part of inherited tradition for those who offer themselves for the ordained ministry. They are first made Deacons, and those who serve well earn double portions for themselves later.
Also worthy of note are many miracles performed by the early apostles. Jesus told them that if they believe, signs and wonders would accompany their work and they would even perform greater miracles.
Today, some believers have commercialised or monetised the gift of God. This should not be. God’s gift could fizzle out if it is not properly used. The story of Samson is fresh on our minds.
Some obstacles to gifts are: pride, unholy living; love for power; egocentrism; insatiable appetite for material things -C. f 2 Tim. 4v10; I Tim. 6v10.
Remember, the arm of flesh shall fail. Let us call upon the Holy Spirit to be our guide and lead us to use gifts appropriately.
No believer is useless.Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.