There are people who are often called “gifts to the church” – generally these people are a bit famous in Christian circles through having penned books or worship songs or who are fantastic gospel communicators speaking, routinely, at conferences and events. We are blessed when we read, sing and listen . . .
The thing is, they are not set apart as the only gifts to the church (and, honestly – there is only one gift to the Church).
We have possibly elevated these people and chosen to set them apart with a wrong headed thinking that says something like “surely the Lord’s anointed stands here!” (see 1 Samuel 16:6) . . . It is as if we have returned to some pre Pentecost age when God divinely inspires a few to take forward His work for a people, a nation, the world . . . the rest of us, you and me, stand back, slack jawed and a little bit in awe.
It is interesting that we do this – because it is not biblical. Who do these verses apply to?
In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
Because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you.
There is not a Christian that these verses do not apply to. Who is it that is at work in Christians who write books, make music and preach sermons? It is God himself through the Holy Spirit – who is it then that is in you and me? The same Holy Spirit. I have often spoken to youth and children’s leaders about the need to realise that when children receive the Holy Spirit, it is not some baby or junior version of the Holy Spirit – and, they might chime in with OF COURSE – we know this! Why then are we so often reliant on what others have written, others have made, others have said?
There is much to enjoy . . . but is what you bring less? Less vital? Less of God? Less from God?
You and I might not write a book that is an inspiration to millions – but, we might right a devotional for our own youth group that encourages them to walk with Jesus and, for them, has just as great an impact as leaving it to “insert your favourite devotional writer here“.
You and I might not have young people in our youth group releasing a worship album – but, we might have a young person who has written a song inspired by God – just as much as a song by “insert your favourite worship leader here” – that speaks right now to the other young people in their youth group.
You and I might not have a young person on a preaching tour – but, that faltering from the heart testimony last Sunday evening spoke to the congregation and their mates who came to watch their baptism in a way that no profound and expertly crafted talk from “insert your favourite preacher here” could do.
Seriously. Through our young people and through our faithful, fumbling steps God’s Holy Spirit is at work – inspiring, encouraging, innovating. Does whatever it is need to be seen as inspired by others? Do we need the validation of some ministry guru? Are we seeking to listen to the Lord? Are we paying attention to the whispers of the Holy Spirit? Are we seeing those God has given us to serve, love and nurture through His eyes? Then lets step out with our Holy Spirit inspired gifts and ideas and lets release and equip others to do the same!
God’s divine inspiration is at work through ordinary Saints like you and me and the ordinary saints in our youth and children’s groups.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying what others bring to the world wide Church through their ministry – but, maybe we would need them less if we trusted more that the same Holy Spirit is in us, using us, anointing us (yes, even us) bringing His very life to others through our faithful witness and service.
You are a gift to those you serve – because you, like me, carry the gift of God with you wherever you go.
Christ in us is the hope of glory