Dwight Fletcher | How Wi Love Strong by Serving
Over the last three weeks we have been exploring the topic 'Wi Love Strong' through various lenses. This week we look at loving through service. It's like being a superhero. Every child has a favourite superhero. Growing up, my favourite superhero was 'The Flash' - a normal guy who got his powers from a freak accident and was empowered to move super fast.
Being a superhero has a strong appeal to many of us. A superhero comes to the rescue whenever there is a crisis and many of us secretly want to be superheroes. We want to be the one that people look up to, that saves the day. But superheroes are who they are because they use their abilities within a specific context, to help in a specific way. And it is the destiny of every Christian to be a superhero because we all have superpowers.
The Scripture affirms it. If you are a follower of Jesus, God has given you superpowers. In fact, I think part of loving strong is being 'the hero' that God has made you to be. In our context, our spiritual gifts are our superpowers.
"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work ... given for the common good." 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 NLT. The Amplified Bible says we have "extraordinary powers".
God gives each and every one of His followers at least one, sometimes more than one, spiritual gift for the common good. A spiritual gift is a Holy Spirit-empowered ability that is given to serve others in a specific way. Though not exhaustive, some of these possible gifts could be encouragement, giving, leadership, discernment, faith, knowledge, and wisdom. Your spiritual gift is your superpower that is to be used for the 'common good' of all. Like 'The Avengers', you are part of a superhero team in the church.
There are two important things to note about spiritual gifts:
1. God is the one who picked mine. Romans 12:6 NLT confirms this, "In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well." God, in His infinite wisdom and love knew exactly which gifts were best suited for you. So don't waste time being jealous of someone else's gift when you should be spending time developing your own. Just think - God blessed you and entrusted you with this specific ability to make a difference in your community and the world!
2. It is a Spirit-empowered gift.Your spiritual gift might be different from your natural ability. You might be a natural administrator but have a spiritual gift to teach youth. It's an empowerment, an ability beyond what you can do naturally.
So, the natural question is, "What are my gifts?"
Here is where some of us get stuck when it comes to serving. We want to find our gift first then serve. But spiritual gifts only become clearer as you get involved. The solution therefore is to experiment in serving.
Get involved in serving in any area.Even if you are not yet a Christian and are just checking out 'this God thing', there are some areas in which you can serve. God desires to use the act of serving to build your spiritual life, and at the same time you get to know your gifts.
"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought...5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us... Romans 12:3, 5-6 NIV.
1 Corinthians 12:7 says that your gifts and my gifts were "...given for the common good". Your gifts were given to you to help, serve and benefit; and we need to do this together. It is a lesson in both humility and responsibility for us. Humility, because the gift is not about us, and responsibility because God knew someone else would need to experience Him through our gifts.
Can you imagine what the Church would be like if everyone was using their gift? Can you imagine what this city would be like, if we all were serving in ways that utilised the gifts that God gave to us?
The truth is that God doesn't need any of us, but He invites us to be used by Him. He does that by bringing us together, mobilising and using us together. Sure, there's strength in numbers, but numbers brought together by the hand of God and empowered by God provides more than natural strength. That's the type of power that can change a church for God; change a neighbourhood for God; change a nation for God; and change the world for God.
You have superpowers. You are part of a super team. But remember that power alone isn't what makes a hero. There has to be action. The church and your community need superheroes, not because they need you, but because they need God.
Oftentimes we ask what we can get out of the church. But I want you to ask why God gifted your community with you? Don't be an unopened gift. Be the gift that you areserve the church and community the way God made you to, with the gifts He's given you. Be a hero for Jesus!