A thirty-eight-year old scrubwoman would go to the movies and sigh, “If only I had her looks.” She would listen to a singer and moan, “If only I had her voice.” Then one day someone gave her a copy of a book, The Magic of Believing. She stopped comparing herself with actresses and singers. She stopped crying about what she didn’t have and started concentrating on what she did have. She took inventory of herself and remembered that in high school she had a reputation for being the funniest girl around. She began to turn her liabilities into assets. The time came when Phyllis Diller made over $1 million in one year. She wasn’t good-looking and she had a scratchy voice, but she could make people laugh. (Illustrations Unlimited)
One thing about the Good News of salvation in Christ Jesus is that believing makes all the difference between success and failure as we get ready for the Kingdom. We can’t “mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13, Berean Study Bible, BSB) if we compare ourselves to others and wish we have what they have. Instead, if we take inventory of what we already have, and take advantage of it, we will be able to turn our liabilities into assets just like Phyllis Diller.
Believing is the key. If we believe that God has given us a gift that we can use for serving him then we will experience spiritual growth and the blessings that come from it. In Ephesians 4, the Apostle Paul lists some examples of spiritual gifts such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The purpose of these gifts was for equipping the church “for works of service, to the building up of the body of Christ…” (v. 12).
God has given every believer a gift by the Power that is received through Christ. It might be one of the gifts Paul lists in Ephesians 4, or it might be one or more of the other gifts he lists elsewhere, such as Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthains 12:4-11. The Bible says there are a diversity of gifts but the same Spirit given to each believer to use as God has given. One’s responsibility and privilege as a believers is to seek the gift God has uniquely given so as to contribute to the work one has been called to do.
All too often we might dwell on what we can’t do rather than what we can do. For example, you might not be able to work miracles, or possess gifts of healing or perform other such signs. But what about the things you CAN do? It might help if you ask someone close to you what they see in you that you can’t see. They will probably be able to tell you something positive about yourself that you never thought you were good at doing. Maybe it’s helping others or giving generously to those in need, or providing encouragement, or giving good advice, or having the ability to teach or speak, and the like. It might even be the ability to make others laugh. Whatever special gift God has given to you, it is an asset that will bring glory to him while building up the body of Christ.
Our gifts are assets that need developing. One of Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” items pictured a plain bar of iron worth $5. The same bar of iron if made into horse shoes would be worth $10. If it were made into needles, it would be worth $5,000. If it were made into balance springs for find Swiss watches, it would be worth $500,000. The raw material is not as important as how it’s developed. God says we have spiritual gifts, but their worth to him will be dependent on how we develop them. (ibid)
This illustration reminds me of Paul’s reminder to his young colleague, Timothy, to “kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you…” (2 Tim. 1:6). Rekindle the gift. Keep using and developing that asset until it becomes fruitful in abundance for the work of the Lord. Others will receive a blessing for it.
When Jesus told the Parable of the Talents (or Minas), he was teaching how important it is to use the “talent” God has given to us as we anticipate the coming Kingdom. No matter how much he’s given, we are to put it to use and not bury it like one of the servants foolishly did. It’s not what we don’t have, but what we do have by God’s grace that counts. But if we don’t invest in the assets God has freely given, then we will lose our place in God’s Kingdom. (See Matthew 25:14-30.)
God does not want us to be afraid to use our gifts for Paul said to Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline,” (2 Tim. 1:7). He’s given everyone the power, love, and discipline to use those assets through the Power that dwells in us: “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure [good deposit] which has been entrusted to you,” (2 Tim. 1:14).
Just like Susan Kay Wyatts sings, “We All Have Gifts to Share,” http://youtu.be/G8vfPPfQ0bo
Good News to YOU!