Saturday, November 5, 2011

be bold to use your talents

I've often quoted 2 Timothy 1:7 when dealing with fear, but today I actually took time to consider the context of the verse.

Paul is writing to Timothy and telling him that he prays for him and is excited to see him again. Then Paul writes this:

"That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. So don't be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner." (verses 5-8, Message)

I re-read the verse in a different version. 

"Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment." (verses 6-7, Holman Christian Standard)

God has given us gifts to use on this earth - gifts of leadership, encouragement, natural abilities, etc. These gifts make us who we are and give each of us a unique impact in this world. From what Paul writes, it sounds like if we're not careful, these gifts will subside and we can walk through life without fully utilizing the gifts we've received - kinda like that Christmas gift you got last year, that you absolutely loved at the time, but you haven't touched since.

Paul encourages Timothy to remember all that God has given him and use it for God's kingdom. 

Now the reason I think it's cool that these two verses connect is because God's gifts to you are so extravagant that we can be afraid to use them. We need to remember the gift of God inside of us... but not be afraid to use it. Instead, we are to be "bold, loving, and sensible." 

Bold: the gifts God gave you may be intimidating for you to think about, but you have every right to trust God and utilize them to their full extent. 

Loving: don't be prideful about these gifts. The reason you have them is to impact the people around you for God's glory. 

Sensible: be wise in your use of them. As the phrase goes, "don't throw pearls before swine." Situations will arise where it will be appropriate or not appropriate to use your gifts. 

Say you have the gift of teaching or explaining things. You really understand the Bible, and God has plans for you to teach people about God's kingdom. You will need to be bold to accept that teaching position at your church's Bible study, but you'll also need to be wise on how to let your teaching gift be used when someone is telling you about a difficult time in their life, especially if that person is an unbeliever. They may only be able to handle a small portion of everything you could teach them.

So when God gives us the opportunity to use our gifts and talents, we don't have reason to be afraid. God has given us grace to be bold, loving, and sensible with the use of our gifts and talents. We simply need to seize the opportunities and allow God to work through us to reach others.

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