Devotional: You need the greatest gift

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. ( Romans 12:6–8)

Notice how various spiritual gifts can be. Paul here gives us some examples and I think they are just examples, not a complete list. He lists seven different kinds of equipment: first, prophesying; second, serving; third, teaching; fourth, encouraging; fifth, contributing (bear in mind that is a gift); sixth, leadership; and seventh, showing mercy.

A lot of people get all excited about prophesying. It sounds so dramatic and, in a certain sense, it is. But you might be all worked up about prophesying and God might be speaking to you about a ministry of showing mercy. Visiting the sick and the shut‑ins, doing something that’s rather quiet and unseen to the public eye. And yet, that’s your particular place and function in the body. See how important it is that you don’t try to be something different from what God has appointed you to be? That you find your right place? That you fulfil your right function? That you accept the right equipment from God and you operate in the proportion of faith which God has given you? Because that proportion of faith is directly related to your function.

In 1 Corinthians 12:31, Paul says: “But eagerly desire the greater gifts” (NIV). It is very significant he doesn’t tell us which the greater gifts are. I have looked many times through the Bible but I don’t find any list that states which are the greatest and which are the least gifts, so I have come to this conclusion: For me, the greater gifts are those which enable me to function to the optimum in the particular place in the body in which God has set me. Therefore, what might be a greater gift for me might not be so great a gift for you. Never divorce gifts, which are equipment, from function, which is what God wants you to be and to do in the body of Christ.

You need God’s spiritual equipment to function in the body of Christ. To see how much importance the New Testament attaches to being properly equipped, let’s turn to the words with which Jesus directed His disciples as to how they were to go out into their ministry. Just before He left them, He said in effect, “Don’t go out now and start to minister because you don’t have the equipment. Wait in Jerusalem. When you receive the equipment, then you can begin to minister.” Now, if that was true for the apostles who had been together with Jesus for 3½ years, heard all His teaching, witnessed all His miracles; don’t you think it’s at least equally true for you and me? That we are not fit to got out and minister until we have received the appointed equipment. Listen to what Jesus says in Luke 24:46–49:

He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. “You are witnesses of these things. “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

That’s the equipment—the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer

Dear Father, thank You for Your Holy Spirit, without Whom I wouldn’t be able to do anything at all! Help me to wait upon, and eagerly desire Him, so I may be properly equipped for the task You have laid out for me. I also pray You will help me to humble myself, to also be open for tasks that perhaps don’t see the limelight. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

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