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Wednesday, September 19, 2012
"The Ability Which God Giveth"
“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” I Peter 4:10-11
We are made to serve. God has given each of us an ability, and perhaps some are given several abilities, by which we can serve Him. As our abilities are used to serve one another, God receives glory. When we fail to use our abilities for the purpose God gave them to us, then we are depriving our fellow man from help, and our God from the glory He is due. Too often we neglect to use the gift God has given us, or worse, we use it for our own selves. This is the reason we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10). If my God-given ability brings God glory and serves my fellows, then I will have done good; if my God-given ability has gone undiscovered, unused, or becomes self-exalting, then I shall have done badly.
Maybe you have a desire to serve, but you don't know what your gift is. I want to help everyone in Central to discover their God-given ability so that we can serve one another and thereby glorify our Saviour. I am going to give a few "abilities" that will lead you to the knowledge of that great God-given ability that He plans for you to use and bring Him glory.
Jesus told the parable of the man traveling away to a far country, who called to him his servants and gave to each of them talents. To one he gave five, to another two, and to another one. Notice that he did not divide up these talents by how well he liked these guys, but the Scripture says they were given out to "every man according to his several ability" Matthew 25:15. So each man received the gift according to his abilities. The lesson is clear, that as these men used their abilities to serve they were in turn awarded the talents in equal proportion to their abilities. With that understood, let's look at several "abilities" that we should display to God so that we can be rewarded with the gifts, or talents, that will help us serve Him better.
Three of the most precious words spoken in the Bible are "Here am I.” These words were spoken by Isaac, Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, and Ananias, who baptized Paul. These are words of surrender. Isaiah said, "Here am I; send me" Isaiah 6:8. He made himself available to God, for whatever God saw fit. Each of these men did far more than they ever expected simply because they were available!
Psalm 12 and Proverbs 20:6, teach us that faithful men are few and far between. As a pastor I see firsthand how rare it is to find people who will consistently execute the responsibilities they have been entrusted with. If we could just get ahold of the truth that God looks favorably upon faithfulness, we would be much more dependable. "A faithful man shall abound with blessings" Prov. 28:20. Once you have been given a responsibility, just do it! Get the reputation that you can be counted on.
One of the most important of the "several abilities" is teachability. When God called Moses He told him, "I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say" Ex. 4:12. Moses was teachable at eighty years old!
David prayed over and over, "Teach me thy way, O LORD." David was king in Israel, but he stayed teachable. Job said the beasts, fish and foul, and even the earth itself would teach us if we listened carefully enough. Solomon told us to “Go to the ant,” and we would be taught how to provide for ourselves. Jonah learned a lesson from the whale, the wind and the worm! Balaam was taught a stiff lesson from a donkey. Peter learned a hard truth from a rooster.
Don't become a know-it-all. Stay pliable, and teachable. Since we can learn from everyone no matter how big or small, pay attention to everyone around you. The wise man said, "I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD" Jeremiah 5:5. Find those who are serving God and just hang around them. Always be striving to learn.
Let’s use these "several abilities" and find that great ability that God wants most in our lives!