Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Know Your Gift and Calling -- Acts 6

As I read through Acts 6 there are a few things I am not surprised by and a few things which catch me off guard. It is no surprise that as the number of believers grew there was some grumbling. Further it is no surprise the leaders of the church had a plan to address the grumbling. My first shock comes when the leaders say they should be focused on the scriptures, teaching and leading the church, not administering a food program. My first read of this causes me to think of the leaders as arrogant, and unwilling to do whatever it takes for the ministry to continue. Further reflection reveals a possibility just below the surface.

Each one of us is gifted and called by God. You and I are both uniquely designed and created for a purpose in God's kingdom. In order for us to fulfill the calling and live out our gifts we first must identify those gifts. This is more than simply taking a class, though that can be helpful, it is a process of discerning the heart of God. Once we feel as though we have grasped, even in a small form, what it is God has gifted and call us to we must pursue it.

The leaders of the church in Acts 6 understood who God had called them to be, and where their gifting was found. Could they have administered the food program? Yes. Would that have been the best use of the calling and gifts God has given? No. The people selected to administer the food to the widows were people who were called to such a ministry, and God gifted them for it as well. Had the leaders of the church simply stepped in to lead the food distribution, who would have kept the words of Scripture in front of the people?

Second but not secondary is the matter of excellence. The leaders could have done it, however my guess is the people lifted up by the Holy Spirit did a much better job. When we function out of our calling and giftedness, we function better. This is not to say we never function outside of our calling and giftedness, there are times when we are called to that. Still a bulk of our effort should be spent doing that which God has called us to, and gifted us for. This is why the church leaders would not administer the food program. It was not out of arrogance or pride, it was out of recognizing the calling and gifting of all God's people.

How about you? Are you doing what God has called and gifted you for?

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