Gifts for Serving

Tim Bruster

Together we are as the body of Christ, but we all have different roles, gifts, and callings — and we’re all called to serve.

Dear Friends,

This week as we continue our Healthy Plate Discipleship series, we turn our attention to the segment of our discipleship “plate” we’re coming to know as “Serve.”

Our scripture (Romans 12:1-13) is one of the two places where Paul uses the image of the body of Christ to describe the church: “Though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other.” So while it’s important to know that together we are the body of Christ, it’s equally significant to understand that we all have different roles, gifts, and callings — and that we’re all called to serve.

You get the impression from Paul that there are about as many ways to serve as there are people. Each person has a particular constellation of gifts that can be used in serving God and serving others. He says, “We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us.” While he gives a lot of examples, those are only examples and certainly not a complete list. There are gifts and ways of serving that Paul could never have anticipated. The important thing is to recognize that everyone is gifted for service and is called to serve.

So, if your gift is administration or business, for example, you can serve others by helping care for the administration of the church. If your gift is teaching, then you can teach children, youth, or adults. If your gift is encouragement, then you can serve others by visiting the homebound or mentoring kids. If your gift is music, then you can serve in the Music Ministries of the church and enhance the experience that the gathered community has in worship. If your gift is prophecy, which Paul mentions here, then you can best understand that in today’s context as thinking deeply about what God’s will is in our contemporary situation and bringing insights to bear in church and civic life. If your gift is leadership, then your service can take the form of leading in the ministries of the church and using your leadership gifts in the broader community for the good of all.

In our scripture, Paul talks about serving others as “living sacrifice and transformed lives.” He says, “Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic — be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord!” How do we get to that place of understanding and using our gifts, of transformed lives and possessing a joyous energy and passion for serving? We begin, he says, with renewing our minds, discerning what our gifts are: “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is.” My favorite guideline comes from theologian and author Frederick Buechner when he defined vocation — the root of the word means calling — as “the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” Vocation isn’t just your job, although it may include that, but it is what you do with your life; it is how you serve.

So, I ask you to ponder two questions: What is your deep gladness? And where could it meet a great need in the world?

I look forward to exploring these ideas with you further on Sunday!

Grace and Peace,

Tim_Signature

 

 

Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor

 

Romans 12:1-13 (CEB) 

So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is — what is good and pleasing and mature. 

Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you. We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful.

Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic — be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home.

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