Gifted by Grace

giftWe’re doing a sermon series right now on God’s grace and in my lesson last week we looked at the connection between God’s grace and “giftedness.”  When we think of grace, we of course think of forgiveness of of sins, the amazing sacrifice of Christ on the cross, salvation by grace.  And rightly so.  But the word grace is also used by both Peter and Paul in referencing the gifts that God gives us.  For example Paul says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” (Rom 12:6).  The word he uses for gift is “charismata” or grace-effect.  The word for grace is “charin.”  Same greek word.  See the connection?  Peter says, “Each of you should use whatever gift (charisma, “grace effect”) you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace (charitos) in its various forms.” (I Peter 4:10). We have different gifts, levels of ability but none of us deserve any of it.  It’s by grace.  And Paul says Christ “apportioned” or distributed that grace.  He’s not talking about salvation.  He’s talking about gifts:  “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it…. “he gave gifts to his people.” (Eph 4:7).

This has big implications for those of us in worship ministry.  There are many gifted people who serve in worship ministry, and there are those who are gifted yet choose not to serve.  Why?  Cause using your gifts is risky.  You’re putting yourself out there.  If things go well you are tempted to swell with pride.  If thinks fall apart you are tempted to shrink with insecurity.  And particularly those of us who end up in the arts often do so because we’re an interesting mix of both pride and insecurity.  So we’re afraid.  Or we’ve had bad experiences.

That’s where this view of seeing gifts as all about grace is important.  Because if you see it as grace that means it’s not about you.  And if you see God as gracious, if affects what you will do with your gifts.  Remember the story Jesus told about the servant who hid his talent?  He was afraid of the risk.  And a lot of it had to do with his view of God: “‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground.’” (Matt 25:24-25).  He didn’t see God as gracious.  He saw him as unfair.  Your view of God is key to how you view and use the gifts and abilities that you have.

If you see God as gracious, your response is to be grateful.  Gratitude is the proper reflection of grace.  Grateful people are happy people.  When you are grateful you have enough, rather than operating out of a scarcity mindset.  When you are grateful you are not operating out of fear, stress, or anxiety.  You enjoy the differences between people, the dispersion of gifts, rather than being in conflict with others.  You work together to build something to God’s glory joining him in his creative nature.  Grateful people are not afraid to use what they’ve been given, in fact they relish it.  And God enjoys seeing us use the gifts he’s given us.

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.  – Romans 12:6-8

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  – I Peter 4:10-11

God has given us so much. So here’s to being “FAITHFUL STEWARDS” of God’s grace!

Song for today – THANK YOU LORD

Thank You, Lord – recording

Thank You Lord – teaching recording

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