Responsible Gift Use
Every American is gifted with freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of movement, freedom of choice, etc. However, not all Americans use their freedoms responsibly. Take for example, freedom of speech. It has been abused and perverted by irreverent irresponsible citizens who use filthy language and pornography and call such freedom of speech/expression. Freedoms must be used responsibly.
The Corinthian Christians were irresponsible with their miraculous spiritual gifts. It appears their gifts were “all about them” versus being “all about God.” They (the Christians) became the center of attention and brought about confusion and jealousy instead of glorifying the Lord and producing faith.
When it comes to our non-miraculous spiritual gifts today, Christians must use them responsibly. Please allow me to illustrate:
The one with the gift of mercy showing/compassion must use this gift responsibly. Used incorrectly would be to use it to enable poor behavior in those we are attempting to help. Responsible use does more than ‘help,’ it enables proper behavior, choices and growth.
The one with the gift of prophecy must use this gift not as a means to blow off steam or vent anger. Used responsibly is to inform and warn people of impending negative consequences of poor behavior and to call people to repentance. The intent is pure and holy.
The gift of teaching is used responsibly when the teacher studies well and presents lovingly. This gift is not used to show one’s great knowledge but to point men, women and children to the Lord. Lack of study and preparation are also examples of irresponsible use of this gift.
The gift of giving can be used irresponsibly when the giver doesn’t use discretion and wisdom, when he/she gives blindly to unworthy causes or gives to bring attention to him/herself. Responsible giving is done to promote Christian evangelism and spiritual growth.
The gift of service is used irresponsibly when it is for show or to bring attention to oneself. Responsible service promotes and enables the cause of Christ to progress smoothly.
The gift of leadership/administration is misused when leaders lord over people and use their position for advancing personal agendas and control. Responsible use leads people to spiritual growth and welfare.
The gift of exhortation can be used irresponsibly by using weak means to encourage. The best means of exhorting folks is God’s Word and spiritual counsel.
Used responsibly it puts courage back into people and supports the discouraged.
The gift of evangelism is used irresponsibly when the whole counsel of God is not taught and when false doctrine is propagated. Responsible use is preaching the truth in love to a lost and dying world. It is sharing the gospel with courage and without fear.
The gift of hospitality is used responsibly when we open our hearts and homes to the stranger. We help folks feel comfortable and accepted and loved. Irresponsible use would be when we do not use the gift or we use it partially, being hospitable only to those we know and like.
The gift of pastor/shepherding is used responsibly when those with the gift nurture, train, mentor, teach, guide, lead, protect, and shepherd the saved in the church. It is abused when it is NOT used and when it is used partially and inconsistently.
We all may fail to use our gifts responsibly when we fail to use them, and when we do not develop them for more effective use and when our motives are not pure and holy.
May we all come to know what our spiritual gift is and use it responsibly and fully to His honor and glory and to the salvation of souls.