In Eat this Book, Eugene Peterson teaches us to chew on a passage of scripture, digest it, and put it to use in practical ways. Our Christian fathers and mothers called this process Lectio Divina. In this passage we are reminded that God intends us to recycle the gifts he has given us.
LUKE 12:48; RECYCLING OUR GIFTS
“Much will be demanded from everyone who has been given much, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked” (Common English Bible).
“Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities! (The Message).
He has just finished a parable about being watchful for his return when Peter questions whether that parable was just for the disciples or for everyone. Jesus then launches into another parable about a master who puts a slave in charge during the master’s absence. The slave suspects that his master might be delayed and takes advantage of the situation by mistreating the slaves, only to be punished when the master returns. Jesus ends the story by saying, “From everyone to whom much has been given much will be required.”
Jesus is pretty clear here. He is telling his disciples (and us) that we are held accountable for what we have been given. Most Christians believe that they are responsible to return a portion of their finances for the work of Christ in the world. Some may even believe that their time must also be shared. But what about using our spiritual gifts? Paul says,
“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; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 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 (Romans 12:6-8).
Any gift God has given us, is a gift he expects us to recycle and put back into the world.
Take an inventory of the gifts with which God has graced you.
- Spiritual gifts (see Paul’s list above). Do you know what your gifts are? Are you using them? Are you using them properly?
- Artistic gifts: painting, sculpting, sewing, photography, singing, writing, gardening, cooking, dancing, etc. Are you using them in God’s work?
- Interpersonal gifts; gifts that involve sharing your life with others: loving, sharing wisdom, speaking honestly, praying and blessing, listening, being present when needed, uplifting, bringing hope. Are you “being Jesus” to others?
- Vocational gifts: carpentry, accounting, nursing, dentistry, counseling, computer skills, communications, journalism, caring for children. Do you see a way to use these gifts in God’s work?
- Physical gifts: physical health, mental health, energy, stamina, athleticism. Have you ever thought of offering these gifts to others?
Ask the Spirit of God to bless you with the wisdom to understand and the obedience to offer the gifts you have been given to the work of the Kingdom.
MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“The Christian life is not monochrome. Yes, we are all the same, sharing a common Christ identity, yet we are all different: each of us is uniquely gifted to live out this endlessly creative identity in fresh and particular ways” (Eugene Peterson in a note on Romans 12:6 in The Spiritual Formation Bible).