Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Are You A Consumer Or Contributor?

1 PETER 4:10-11 – 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. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

THEME OF THE DAY. ARE YOU A CONSUMER OR CONTRIBUTOR? God has given each of HIs children at least one spiritual gift to be used in the lives of His people for their spiritual growth and development. The primary place this is to occur is through the ministry of the local church. But before we go on, we need to make a distinction between a natural talent and a spiritual gift.

First, let’s look at a couple of similarities. A natural talent is God-given and may be developed. A spiritual gift is also God-given and may be developed. Another commonality is natural talents and spiritual gifts are impartially given by God. What this means is the giving of both is not based on the worth or merit of the individuals receiving them. God is sovereign over all things and that includes the who, what, and when of His choice when giving natural talents and spiritual gifts.

Now, the differences. Let’s identify two. Natural talents may be used for spiritual purposes, but they are not given exclusively for spiritual purposes. Here is one example. Music is not a spiritual gift but a natural talent. Don’t confuse this. Unsaved people, like saved, have great musical talent, but it is not a spiritual gift. Yet, we know from history and even today with the writing of solid theologically rich songs and hymns, that God has chosen to bless His people and church through the natural talents of music in His children. Another difference between natural talents and spiritual gifts is who the attention is focused upon in their use. I don’t think we need to provide much of an example when we look at the music industry. Some entertainers have near cult-like followers and it is all about the performer. In contrast, spiritual gifts are never about the individual whom God bestowed the gift or gifts upon. Should we seek the approval and affirmation by God’s people in the use of our gifts, we are displaying an immaturity not only toward gifts, but toward ourselves. Remember, everything in life, including spiritual gifts, we have received, not owned or developed by ourselves.

Well, how do we apply all this? Simple. If we are Christians, God expects us to use the gift or gifts He has given in the lives of His people and that means we must be involved in the lives of His people in the local church (1 Timothy 3:15). And a good place to start is by asking ourselves two questions . . . “Am I contributing to the health of my church by the use of my spiritual gifts in the lives of my brothers and sisters?” and “If the continuance of my church depended exclusively upon my active participation in giving of myself and resources, would my church be holding services this coming Lord’s Day?” Never lose sight when it comes to the spiritual life in our churches, we are either contributors to its health or consumers hindering its healthy. May God help us to see the privilege and responsibility to use what He has given us – spiritual gifts for the good of His people.

PRAYER: “Father, help me understand that I exist to contribute to Your body and not just receive from it.”

QUOTE: “We will either contribute to the health of our churches by our participation or hinder it by our passivity.”