WHAT DO WE BRING TO THE TABLE?

 

Galena farmhouseI encourage you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate for you. Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect. … God in his kindness gave each of us different gifts. [Romans 12:1b-2,6a (GW)]

 When told that the gifts the Holy Spirit gives us are unique for our specific ministries, we get nervous. We already have a career, didn’t sign up for seminary, and aren’t interested in being ministers. Thanks for the offer, but we don’t see the need for a gift! Being a minister is a vocation; the ministry, however, is the work of every Christian. No matter what our professions, we are all called to minister and that doesn’t necessarily mean pastoring a church. It means serving God and His people in Jesus’ name, which is where those spiritual gifts come in. God is not about to send us off empty-handed.

In job interviews, applicants often are asked, “What do you bring to the table?” With God, however, it’s a little different. When we come to him, He doesn’t care about our resume, how much or little we know, or how many assets we bring to Him. When we come to His table, we receive our own personal coach in the way of the Holy Spirit who provides us with at least one spiritual asset personally designed for us.

In Matthew 9, Jesus spoke of the harvest being plentiful but the laborers being few. I wonder—is it the labor pool that is lacking or is it the willingness of the laborers to do His work that is missing? As Christians, we’re filled with the Holy Spirit and yet we seem to be empty of His gifts. Do we not recognize our gifts or are we simply unwilling to use them? Last Sunday, while kneeling at the Communion rail with others in our congregation, I wondered what gifts we each brought to God’s holy table and how many of those unused gifts we were taking back home with us.

It would seem that there are enough laborers, but they’re just waiting for the ideal job, the perfect opportunity, or the ideal situation to arise. I know plenty of people who have remained unemployed for years because of that attitude and there should be no unemployment line in God’s kingdom. We forget that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness; He not only equips us but He also offers on-the-job training!

I’ve taken assorted Spiritual Gift inventories and, while they can be helpful, I doubt their necessity. In actuality, all we have to do is look at the harvesting needs around us and show up for work. We’ll soon figure out if driving the combine, baling the hay, swinging the scythe, hand-picking the berries, cleaning the tools, transferring the grain to the silo, managing the logistics, marketing the wheat, bringing water to the thirsty or feeding the workers is the job for which we’ve been designed. The important thing is to show up for the harvest; in God’s Kingdom, there should be no shortage of workers!

When he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them. They qwere troubled and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is large, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord who gives this harvest to send workers to harvest his crops.” [Matthew 9:36-38 (GW)]

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