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A Talent | More Than…

#storychanging

A Talent | More Than…

MondayWe 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…  Romans 12:6-8

*She quieted a group of hungry preschoolers and didn’t even break a sweat.

*He never earned a big salary, but his finances were so well-budgeted that he gave generously every time there was a need. *When they began to teach the Bible, it came alive for the listeners and made them eager to apply it.

How do some people do things so much better than others can? They’re gifted.

Some schools celebrate students they call “gifted and talented,” but in truth every student is gifted in some way. It may not be in a classroom, but God created each of us with capabilities different from that of others. It’s our job to discover those capabilities and develop them for His glory. A gifted teacher can propel a student into a bright future; an ungifted one can destroy the passion for learning. A gifted giver builds God’s kingdom with personal resources; an ungifted one lives in financial debt and selfishness. A gifted prophet explains the word of God and helps people apply it; an ungifted one sees prophecy as a way to get attention. We’re all gifted, but what we do with those gifts determines whether or not God is glad He gifted us.

Final Thought:  Are you making the Lord glad that He gifted you?

Prayer: Father, I thank you specifically for giving me the gift of ___________. I see that not everyone can do that or enjoys doing that. Help me develop my gifts in ways that build your kingdom. May I bless you with my gifts. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Tuesday“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.  Matthew 25:29

“This is awesome!” Ethan exclaimed, holding out a debit card. “Mr. Z just made my year! When’s he coming back?” Rory frowned at him. “He didn’t say, but I’m gonna invest mine in solid stock and I think I can double it by the time he gets back.” Ethan snorted. “That’s crazy! Do like me. Party hard for a while. You can always invest it later, earn it back. I’ll give him back exactly what he gave me.” Rory shook her head. “I think you’re missing the point. Mr. Z trusted us with this money and expects us to use it the way he would.” Ethan rolled his eyes. “You’re so serious. Loosen up! Have a little fun with it first!”

Five years later, Mr. Z arrived unexpectedly and called his employees to a meeting. Rory proudly showed him her stock portfolio and the bank statement that was triple what he’d left with her. Beaming, he handed her an envelope. “Welcome to my board of directors,” he said. “I now know I can trust you.” Ethan rubbed bloodshot eyes and handed Mr. Z. his bank statement. “Still there,” he announced. Mr. Z frowned. “This is exactly what I left with you. I consider this stealing,” he said. “You’re fired!” God has loaned to us resources, talents, time, and spiritual gifts. He expects us to invest it all in His kingdom. When we stand before Him to give an account of our lives, our rewards are based on what He gave us and what we did with it. Are you ready?

Final Thought:  What are you doing with what God has entrusted to you? (time, money, talents, health, spiritual gifts…)

Prayer: Father, am I investing my life and all you’ve given me for your purposes? When I stand before you to give an account of myself, will I have anything to show for the years I spent on earth? Help me start investing for eternity. Amen.

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Wednesday As each has received a gift, use it to serve… as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10

“You don’t speak in tongues?” Bo asked. “I guess some are more gifted than others. I’m a prophet, an apostle, and I have the gifts of healing and miracles.” Len’s jaw dropped. “Wow,” he replied. “So…are you starting churches? Going to the hospitals and healing people? I don’t remember hearing about any of your miracles.” Bo lifted a disapproving brow. “It just hasn’t been the right time. Pastor won’t let me hold a crusade, so I stopped going to church for a while. They don’t appreciate my spiritual gifts there.” Len shrugged. “I don’t know about that. I stay busy teaching my class and helping on the maintenance crew.”

Misunderstandings about spiritual gifts run rampant in the church. They did in the early church too, so both Paul and Peter wrote letters to try to correct those misunderstandings. God’s gifts are for God’s purposes. Period. Not our purposes. Not to puff us up or compare with someone else because we had nothing to do with receiving them. We can tell we’re gifted in an area when we enjoy doing it with excellence. We may not even know we have a gift, but others bring it to our attention. While Len was using his gifts of teaching and serving at his church, Bo was congratulating himself for his imagined superiority. Which of those men was truly gifted? Which ranked higher on God’s scale? God gives us spiritual gifts to further His work on earth.

Final Thought:  Do you use your spiritual gifts to serve others or serve yourself?

Prayer: Father, thank you for giving spiritual gifts to every person who trusts in Jesus for salvation. Am I using the gifts you gave me the way you want me to? Am I wasting them? Help me develop them to serve you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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ThursdayDo you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength…God supplies… so everything you do will bring glory to God.. 1 Peter 4:11

“I don’t want to offend you, ma’am. But when you talk to me, I’m not hearing you. I’m hearing God,” the broken woman said with tears coursing down her face. “I never heard none of this stuff before. It’s your voice, but I hear God saying, ‘I love you.”

“Kel, I don’t know you do it, but you show up right when I’m about to give up,” Reggie said. “It’s like you have this energy about you that helps me believe I can make it another day. I’m thinking I need to learn more about this Jesus you talk about.”

It may seem like a little thing to you. No big deal. It’s just what you do, but someone else sees it as an answer to their prayers. It’s our responsibility to discover how we’re gifted and then find ways to use those gifts to the glory of God. But why do we talk so much about God’s glory? Do it for God…do it for God… Why do we do it for God? Because that’s the reason we’re on this earth. We’re NOT here for ourselves. We’re not even here for other people. We’re not here for the universe. We’re here to reflect the glory, beauty, power, and character of our Creator. Only when we are glorifying God are we living up to our authentic selves. God gives us gifts, talents, passions, and abilities so that each of us can reflect His glory in unique ways as we offer them to Him. Of all the sacrifices we could make for God, His favorite is when we live every moment for His glory.

Final Thought: Is every area of your life dedicated to the glory of God? If not, you’re not living up to your potential.

Prayer: Lord, search my heart and my life. Go into those places I keep for myself. Expose the areas that are not living up to the potential you put there. I offer them now as a gift to you. May I glorify you in everything I do. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Friday Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water.  Luke 5:3

This was Simon Peter’s first introduction to Jesus. Imagine sitting at your desk, folding laundry at home, or washing your car, and a stranger walks up to you and says, “Hey, I’d like to use that.” Simon had heard about this Rabbi from Nazareth, but they’d only been stories from a distance. Now there He was, pointing right at Simon and asking to use his boat. His livelihood. His comfort zone. There was no hesitation on Peter’s part. The next line says, “So (Jesus) sat in the boat and began to teach.”

Maybe you’ve kept Jesus at arm’s length. You’ve heard about Him but they’ve only been stores from a distance. When He pointed at your stuff, you hesitated. He said, “Hey, I’d like to use your talents, your money, your time, your interests.” But you pulled back. Those are MINE, you thought. He might not want for me what I want for me, so No, Jesus. You can’t have it. Would Jesus have punched Peter for saying no? Stolen the boat anyway? Of course not. He’d have found another boat and Peter would have missed out on his life’s purpose. He wasn’t created to simply catch fish until he died. He was created to be a world-changer. And so are you. But it starts with surrendering what you have and obeying what God says to do with it.

Final Thought:  What areas of your life are you withholding when Jesus says, “Hey, I’d like to use that”?

Prayer: Jesus, have I held you at arm’s length about ___________? Have I fully surrendered it to be used for your purposes and not mine? You gave it to me in the first place. It was never mine, so I commit to finding your purpose for it. Amen.