8 February 2016

Dear Friends in Christ, in the Training Week our attention has been focussed on how the gifts God has given us may be used for building his New Humanity. Here are a few random thoughts I have been having. I hope they may be helpful.

Firstly, God has made each one of us different. Each has unique abilities, personalities and experiences. We must be our Christian selves if we want to exercise our ministries for the building of his people. We can learn from others but we mustn’t ape them. If we don’t be ourselves in Christ then the new humanity will be robbed of the particular gifting God has given us and we will all be the poorer.

Secondly, let us not have a higher view of our gifts than we ought, nor a lower view either. Avoid being a romantic on the one hand or self-deprecating on the other. Try to be aware of pride internally and alert to people’s response externally and if you have good honest friends ask them what they think is your gifting. Weigh up the advice received. It might be right or it might be wrong. Work it out before God.

Thirdly, if you’re going to exercise your ministry under God, then do it with faith. Take risks with your ministry and trust God to bless you and the recipients. If you’re going to be generous, go a bit further than your comfort zone. Make sure you do all in the name of Christ. Pray over your actions prior to acting if you can. God rewards faith, not stupidity.

Fourthly, just because we have the gift doesn’t mean we must use it. Remember the gift’s purpose. It is to build up God’s people, not to show everybody how clever or good we are. It may be that we ought to refrain from using our gifts so that others will use theirs.

Fifthly, just because we have successfully used a gift in the past doesn’t necessarily mean we will continue to use it with the same affect in the future. Circumstances change and we change. This makes for an interesting life and fresh initiatives in the kingdom.

Finally, as I have heard it said, “Encourage all the flowers to bloom but not the prima donnas nor the empire builders.” Keep asking the question: ”Will what I do advance the Kingdom and grow God’s church?” It may or may not fit “the official line”, but if you believe it will advance the Kingdom, do it and entrust yourself to God.

Every blessing in Christ,

Reg Piper

Romans 12

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. [NIVUK]