We’ve all heard the word “Stewardship” linked with the word “Money” in a Christian setting, and most of us understand that the money that we have has been given to us by our Father in heaven. Because of the constant discussion in our churches, many of us have attended one of the excellent programs that teach us how to use our money wisely, the importance of giving, and generally making sure that we are good stewards (there’s that word again) of our monetary wealth. What we don’t hear – in fact I’ve never heard it discussed even once outside of God’s word – is the importance of being a good steward of the Spiritual gifts and offices that we have been given. In my mind, they are far more important and more powerful than the money we have been blessed with. These gifts, unlike money, can be used in both the earthly realm and in the Spiritual realm. They can be used in Spiritual battle! I suspect that the silence and lack of discussion and teaching in our churches is due to our enemy, the devil, being successful in his endeavors to focus our attention away from the important issues.
Although there are denominations that do not acknowledge that the Spiritual gifts exist in our generation, reality certainly implies that they do. Unless someone wants to be bold enough to blaspheme the Holy Spirit by saying that the things that are happening all over the world are the work of Satan, they must acknowledge that the full set of gifts are manifest in the Godly men and women who are leading millions to Christ, healing and performing other miracles in third world countries, not to mention others. All born-again Christians receive both gifts and offices from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Those that are usually attributed to the Father are described in Romans 12:5-8 and they include the gifts of Prophecy, Ministry, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Organizing and Mercy. The gifts of the Holy Spirit or Spiritual gifts are described in First Corinthians 12:7-11. They are also referred to as the manifestation gifts and they include Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Discernment, Tongues and the Interpretation of Tongues. The five gifts of Christ are more appropriately referred to as offices and are enumerated in Ephesians 4:7-8 and Ephesians 4:11-16. They include Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher.
God the Father does not make mistakes. We have been given these gifts and offices with God’s perfect and clear purpose for our lives in mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Baptist, a Pentecostal, a Lutheran, a Methodist or a Catholic. Ephesians 4:1 cannot be ignored by anyone who claims to be a Christian. No denomination is excused from the great commission. Paul said, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Ephesians 4:1). We have all been called but are we listening? How many of us have ever taken the time to examine the scriptures to try to find out what our Spiritual gifts are and, more importantly, what our Godly vocation is?
If you’re a believer, then you’re responsible for seeking the truth and the understanding that’s necessary for you to recognize your gifts and office(s). Even if you choose not to fulfill that responsibility, you’re still responsible for being a steward of them and using them properly to fulfill God’s plan for your life. If you consider yourself a believer then clearly you have been CALLED! Do not turn your back on the Lord. The offices and gifts are your official license and inventory that you need to open for business. It’s really quite simple and it isn’t necessary to study it at great length to understand that you must simply get with the program and start doing what He wants you to do.
Furthermore, I believe that the failure to acknowledge a gift, or the failure to understand how it is to be used, can result in the gift manifesting itself in a negative way, often as an undesirable human characteristic. If you’re scratching your head, here’s an example. The office of Prophet tends to make people see earthly things, especially other people’s behavior, in shades of black and white. There is no shade of gray for them. In some ways, they’re similar to software coders (just kidding). They see everyone’s behavior as either right or wrong and have a “zero tolerance” policy with all of the wrong behavior, no matter how trivial it is. One of the main “wants” of a Prophet is a Spiritually pure Church body. That want, coupled with the tendency to be blunt and unyielding, if not understood and used in a Godly manner, can result in people thinking that they’re overly critical, condemning and generally a pain to be around. Clearly, there are right ways and wrong ways to use the gift. Not acknowledging that you have it can be a real problem. You can’t be a good steward of your gift if you don’t know that you have it.
There are also those that are trying to do God’s work without using their gifts. Some are going off in the wrong direction, trying to be an evangelist, when their gift may be that of healing. The end-result of trying to do the Lord’s work without understanding your gifts and offices is inefficiency and frustration. Use the right tool for the right job! You don’t call a plumber to fix your TV set, nor should someone with the gift of the office of Prophet try to teach. It’s simple. Find out what your gifts are, develop them and then use them correctly in the right vocation. Romans 11:29 says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”