1 Timothy 4:14
Reading the commands Paul gave Timothy in verses 6-16 describing a good servant of Christ Jesus, one command uniquely caught my attention: "Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hand on you” 1 Timothy 4:14 (NLT). Since both the Spirit and the elders of the church have identified Timothy's gift as the ability to teach God's Word, he is fulfilling the role of elder/overseer in Ephesus. Therefore, most of Paul's instruction to Timothy concerns fulfilling that role and responsibility.
But what about those of us whose gift is not teaching and our role is not in church leadership? Do we, too, need to be commanded not to neglect our spiritual gifts? Do you know the gift or gifts the Holy Spirit has given you? If so, how are you using them? If not, you need to know because if you are not using them, both you and the church are suffering the loss.
In 2 Timothy 1:6 Paul tells Timothy, "I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God." If you are in Christ, His Spirit resides in you, and He has graciously given you specific gifts to edify and build up His church. You have an important role to fill in the Bride of Christ!
1 Corinthians 12:7 describes your gift as a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. A manifestation is a visible public action. The use of your gift is to be a display of the Holy Spirit's activity revealed in you for the benefit of the church. Paul goes on to list and discuss many of the gifts provided by the Spirit in the rest of the chapter. (Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Peter 4:9-11 discuss additional gifts.) He uses the example of a human body and its various components to explain the necessity of each part fulfilling its role so the body can function as designed.
Jesus, in Matthew 25:14-30, describes a man who leaves his servants with various talents to use for his benefit while he is away. Upon his return, each servant is required to give an account of how they used his gift. Those who used the talent for the benefit of his master heard the words "Well done, my good and faithful servant." The servant who refused to use the gift heard "Throw this useless servant into outer darkness.” A worthy servant of Jesus uses His talents for His glory.
How would you feel if you gave a valuable gift to someone and they refused to use it? We are told, "Do not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God" (Ephesians 4:30) and "Do not quench the Spirit" (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Does it not seem our failure to use His gifts as intended would both grieve and quench the Holy Spirit?
Lord Jesus, thank You for the gifts of grace, faith, and redemption. I am an unworthy recipient of Your mercy. I know from Your Word that I have received additional gifts. Forgive me for both grieving and quenching Your Spirit because of my unwillingness to display Your power at work through me by the use of Your gifts. Since I desire to hear “Well done thou good and faithful servant,” please show me the gifts You have given me and teach me to use them in the building up of Your church.