Mind of the Missionary
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (I Peter 4:10)
How many times in our lives have we said, “I can’t do that!” Probably, a couple of hundred. I sometimes count myself short and didn’t do something because I thought I couldn’t do it. Peter in his letter urges the followers of Christ to use “whatever gift”, he or she has been given to serve others. As a young believer in Christ, I had no idea what “spiritual gifts” were. In the New Testament, there are several lists of gifts from hospitality to encourager to evangelist to apostle(missionary), and so on. Eventually, God did show me what gift or gifts I had to serve others. Maybe, you’re in the same situation…seeking your spiritual gift(s).
During my time with the Pickens Baptist Association Disaster Relief team in Baldwin County, I saw many of these gifts being used to serve others. In the pictures of the last couple of weeks, it’s obvious the physical skills and abilities of our team as it cut down trees and tarped houses, but there were specific spiritual gifts being used, too. For instance, there was evangelism. At each house tarped and/or trees cut down, one if not several of our team members shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with each owner. Another gift was service. Each of these men and women went with a servant attitude. They did not expect anything in return for their time and effort to help these families. It was done with the attitude of Christ…”I did not come to the world to be served, but to serve…” (Mark 10:45)
Another gift was encouragement. Many of these owners were physically handicapped and could not do very much for themselves. Our team, especially the chaplaincy team, sat, talked, and prayed to encourage the owners during their time of discouragement and hopelessness. Finally, I saw the gift of mercy put into practice. When you go to the house of a needy person, you never know what type of person you’ll meet. Even in his/her need, you don’t know how he will respond to the Disaster Relief team. Will he be a very poor person, or a rich one, or a drug addict, or an alcoholic, or an atheist, or a fellow believer? Despite the situation, our team showed compassion and openness to the individual and/or the family living in the house or trailer.
As I reflect on Jesus’ ministry, it covered the gambit from the sick, to the needy, to the rich, the poor, to the religious, and to the irreligious. In each situation, Jesus showed mercy…compassion. One time, He even cried because He saw the devastation of the death of a friend upon his family and community.
Brothers and sisters of Pickens Baptist Association, we do not have to be members of the Disaster Relief team to use our spiritual gifts to serve others. We should use them where we are planted. In other words, we should use our gifts where we live and through our local church. God gave us His gifts to serve others. If we do not use them, they will be taken from us. May we be faithful in using our spiritual gifts to touch the lives of those around us! Jesus said it best, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds(spiritual gifts) and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Until Next Month,