B313 - Make use of our talents and gifts
In Matt 25:26-28. Jesus spoke about the parable of the talents and how one servant chose to hide it in the ground. Jesus condemned that servant and called him ‘wicked and slothful’. In fact, that servant was cast into the ‘outer darkness’, a place where ‘there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (v 30).
In 2 Tim 1:6, the Apostle Paul reminded Timothy to
‘fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you’
while in Acts 18:25, Dr Luke described how a Jew named Apollos, no doubt an eloquent man and one who was competent in the Scriptures, was encouraged by the disciples to speak boldly about his faith.
We must use the gifts (spiritual or natural) that we have been given, whether they are spiritual or otherwise. If we are in a position of authority, we must encourage people working with us to use their gifts.
If our gifts are not utilized, they will be removed from us and given to another person.
B314 - Utilize our gifts even if the amount is limited
In the parable of the talents, three servants were given disproportionate amount; the first got five talents, the second got two, and the last had only one. The master went away on a journey.
On his return, he asked his servants what they had done with the entrusted talents. The one with five gained another five, the one with two had similar results gaining another two, while the one who had one chose to hide his and got no return. The first two servants were commended while the final one was punished and cast into outer darkness.
‘For to everyone who has will more be given and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away’ – Matt 25:29.
Jesus expected us to use our talents.
Luke 12:48 says,
‘Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.’
Not all of us will be given the same amount of gifts and talents but all of us are expected to use our talents for God’s kingdom. The more talents we have been given, the more we have to use all of them.
In 2 Tim 1:6, the Apostle Paul reminded Timothy to ‘fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my (Paul’s) hands.’ It is the responsibility of the one who has received the gift to utilize it.
B315 - Free up believers to exercise their gifts (for leaders)
‘As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.’
Let people exercise their gifts freely although churches, like any organization, may have leaders that impede the opportunity for people to use their gifts. Leaders ought to remember how to get the best out of their people.
If a believer has limited opportunity to exercise his/ her gifts within the confines of the church, then be flexible in seeking God’s direction to apply the gifts elsewhere.
Only, do not complain or grumble. See S112, Grumble, murmur and complain at God.
B316 - Desire much spiritual gifts
1 Cor 14:1 encourages us to
‘earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy’
and 1 Cor 12:31 says, ‘earnestly desire the higher gifts.’
The Greek word for ‘higher’ is meizona and there are seven occurrences in the New Testament with each word being translated at ‘greater’ among the various conventional translations. It is also linked to megas in Strong Concordance which is translated as large, great, mega, or in the widest sense.
1 Cor 12:31 does not really explain what these higher gifts are but if we read the verses prior to them, these may refer to supernatural gifts like healing and the working of miracles.
Let us desire spiritual gifts especially those ‘higher’ supernatural gifts.
B317 - Be faithful in that we have been given
Luke 16:10 says,
‘One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much’
and Matt 25:14-30 explains who that faithful servant is. It is someone who makes use of the investments that he has been entrusted with and has multiplied them accordingly.
It is a person who is trustworthy. If we are faithful in the little that we have been given, we are likely to be faithful in much.
Faithfulness and responsibility go hand-in-hand. Hence, be humble to start being faithful in whatever we have been given.
B318 - Carry on business until the Lord returns or we expire
Luke 19:13 says,
‘Engage in business until I come.’
Stewardship implies that as believers, we are to engage in the business of our Lord through the utilization of our giftings until He returns or we expire.
Stewardship means continuity. It is not the time to sit back and relax.
Even if we are bedridden, we can still pray.
Believers may slow down with age and change our activities and contribution. But we never retire as we ought to serve the Lord with all that we have until we are called home.
B319 - Do not waste
Wastefulness is a sin (See S81/ Heart/Fail to use our gifts and practice wastefulness).
Wastefulness can be in terms of money, time or energy.
Not all of us are given the same amount of money or energy but we are all given the same amount of time. What and how we make use of that which we have been given will be accountable when we meet Jesus.
To a rich man, money can either be spent on a new Porsche (or a designer’s handbag) or be given to an orphanage to feed the many lives over the course of a year. It is our choice.
In Col 4:5, Paul said,
‘Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.’
We might like to take note that Jesus never waste. He always gathered the leftover fragments at the end of every feeding of the multitude.
When he broke the five loaves for the five thousand people, he gathered back twelve baskets of leftovers. And when he did that again for four thousand people, the disciples collected another seven baskets full of broken pieces (Mark 8:19-20).
He explained his rationale in John 6:12 when he said,
‘So that nothing is wasted’ (NLT).
As good stewards of God’s provision, we must remember not to waste the resources given to us.
B419 - Lay hands on others
The Apostle Paul reminded his spiritual son, Timothy, to
‘fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands’ (2 Tim 1:6).
Laying of hands is seen as a foundation truth in Heb 6:2.
But Paul never explicitly states the gift that Timothy received. What we do know is that spiritual gifts can be imparted through hand laying.
In Acts 8:17-19, a sorcerer named Simon saw the laying of hands was used to impart the Holy Spirit on a believer. He requested for that power from both Peter and John and was rebuffed.
Jesus laid his hands on the sick to heal them (Luke 4:40).
Yet, in 1 Tim 5:22, Paul reminded Timothy to ‘not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others.’ Quite simply, ‘Lay hands suddenly on no one.’
So, here is what we know regarding laying of hands:
- It is a foundation truth (Heb 6:2),
- It can be used to impart the baptism with the Holy Spirit on a believer (Acts 8:17-19),
- Healing can take place through it (Luke 4:40), and
- Spiritual gifts can be similarly given to a believer through it (2 Tim 1:6).
- We are to be careful about laying hands on others because there is spiritual significance to the ritual (1 Tim 5:22).
Exercise the laying of hands with care and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.