When we think of ministry gifts in the church, we usually think of the “five-fold” gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher (Ephesians 4:11-12). Most Christians would not readily claim any of those gifts, and quite rightly so, but that does not mean each believer has not been blessed with at least one spiritual gift that should be used for the glory of God. In his first letter to the Corinthian believers, Paul reminds them, “God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. . . . Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit and to all kinds of people!” (see 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, The Message). In other words, we are all gifted to serve.
It is true that the gifts given to ministers and Christians in the early church were for the spreading of the gospel and the conviction of unbelievers. What was true then is still true today. In Romans 12:6-8 we read, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully” (NIV). However, some of the gifts bestowed on some believers can be exercised in everyday life with people we meet. We can encourage someone who needs encouragement, help someone with a task that few would probably notice, be an organizer where those skills are needed, pray, intercede, and comfort.
These are just some of the ways in which God’s people can impact the spheres of influence we find ourselves in if we take the time to look out for, and recognize, the opportunities He has placed before us to represent Him. Remember, we are all gifted to serve. Maybe a young mother could use some help; your local food bank, another volunteer; your child(ren)’s school, another pair of hands in the lunch room; your local church, another helper. The opportunities are endless. As ambassadors of Christ, the only Jesus that some people will ever see is the one they see in us and the things we do.
God expects us to be productive (John 15:2), and for that, we need to use our gifts. For some of us, that gift may be underutilized and, in others, dormant. Isn’t it time to “stir up the gift of God which is in thee”? (2 Timothy 1:6, KJV). Henrich Brunner was right when he said, “Each one has a place in the community of Christ and ought to fill it.” The appeal of Jesus was, “Behold, I say unto you, ‘Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest'” (John 4:35), yet “‘the harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few'” (Matthew 9:37). Every committed Christian has a responsibility to answer that call and to become harvesters of souls for the kingdom of God. There is an area of service for which you have been gifted to serve and which is waiting for you to step into. What has God gifted you to do?