Imagine having given someone a gift that they never use. And let’s say it’s a good gift, perfect for them, beneficial to them, even, and yet they refuse to or fail to use it. This is something that we often do with the gifts that God has given us.
Paul, in speaking about Christian life, after having laid out tremendous truths about God’s grace, includes this exhortation:
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…
In this verse we’ll see two things that we are to do with the gifts that we are given. The first is to
1. Acknowledge the variety of gifts
Paul says, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them“. Paul chooses to highlight the variety of gifts that God has given. Why? We can only surmise. Perhaps there was a typical propensity in the church to only focus on certain gifts, as the Corinthian church was prone to do.
Christians have different gifts according to God’s grace, and that is not by accident–it’s by design. We see in other places in the New Testament that we are given different gifts in order that we would need each other and complement each other. We are “members one of another” (v. 5). We cannot say to another member of the body that we do not need them.
Having acknowledged that there are a variety of gifts, one needs to examine himself to see what the Lord has given him. How do you know? Consider what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at. It’s usually one or the other or both.
Now that we acknowledge that there are a variety of gifts, the next step is to
2. Use the gifts
“Let us use them”, Paul says. There’s something about this participle, “Having”, which seems to imply the logical response. Having these gifts, let us use them. It’s almost as if to say it would be silly and/or inappropriate not to. Imagine a unit on the battlefield under siege. “Having air support on stand by, let us use it.” Or a starving person saying, “Having food, let us eat it.”
Since we have been given various gifts according to God’s grace, the only appropriate response is to “use them”. We ought not be like the servant in the parable who buries his master’s talents. We have been given gifts to use for service to Christ, and we must use them. And we can use them. It’s a privilege to use them.
Earlier, we said to examine what you’re passionate about and/or what you’re good at. Some advice in regard to using them is to simply start serving. Find out what are the needs of the local church, and help meet those needs according to what you are able to do. Often times, you see what your gifts are, simply by doing. Ask your pastors for guidance, also.
So, with our gifts, we are to acknowledge that we all have been given different gifts to be used for the mission and for God’s glory, and we are to use them for the mission and for God’s glory, in light of the grace that He has given to us.