Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Gift of Service

In looking at spiritual gifts, I would like to start with the simpler gifts and work up. (Now it must be recognized that some of the gifts have very little said about them in Scripture, and anything I say is based more on deduction and experience than clear facts.) One of the simpler gifts is the gift of service (Romans 12:7, 1 Peter 4:10,11; 1 Corinthians 12:28). There is a question whether helps is another name for service or is a different gift. I would maintain they are two names for the same gift. But if they are different, I would see service as the overall gift of service and helps as a gift to meet some more specific need. While the word can be used more broadly, in this context the meaning is basically the inclination and ability to meet others' physical needs.

The possessors of this gift are the backbone of the church. They accomplish much that needs to be done in the church organization. They also help out their fellow believers who are in need. Their works can also serve as a way to reach out to needy people outside the church in a low-key way. They will often work long and hard without any public appreciation. (In fact, too much public appreciation may embarrass them and drive them away. But ways need to be found to show them they are appreciated, or they may end up feeling no one notices or cares.) In Romans it says that those who have this gift should use it in serving. I would take this to to mean being involved in service and doing it well. Service is work, and there is a tendency to want to avoid it. Also, while the person with the gift will have a natural inclination to use it, past experiences can get in the way. Therefore, those who have the gift should make a deliberate effort to use it, and the rest of us should encourage them to do so. One of their biggest weaknesses is wanting to do everything themselves, and they may need to be encouraged to delegate or give up some tasks. They also can come to look down on others who are not as diligent or do not work as hard as they do in their own areas of service. The solution to this involves teaching them about the different gifts in the body. But if properly encouraged, people with this gift are highly valuable members of the body of Christ.

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