02 Sep Do You Have Serving Gifts? Part 2
Romans 12:7 – …if service, I our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching…
1 Corinthians 12:28 – And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.
Romans 12:8 – the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
1 Corinthians 12:9 – …to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gift sof healing by the one Spirit…
As we continue our study of spiritual gifts, namely serving gifts, today we’ll look at the gifts of helps/service, administration, giving, and faith.
Place in Scripture: Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28
Defined: The gift of helps/service is the ability to joyfully work alongside others and help them complete the task God has given them. People with this gift generally prefer to work behind the scenes. They also tend to find joy in helping alleviate the burdens and responsibilities of others. This gift is usually accompanied with an attitude of humility and sacrifice, as well as an ability to perceive the needs of others.
General makeup: These people tend to demonstrate a servant attitude, loyalty, attention to detail, and responsiveness to the initiatives of others. They function well in positions of detail and assistant leadership. People with this gift often ask, “what do you need me to do”, or “how can I help” and enjoy doing whatever is needed.
Warning: Sometimes, irresponsible people will find people with this gift and dump their duties on them. We need to help people but should not become co-dependent, be unable to say “no”, or have people make us do things for them that God wants them to do for themselves.
Seen in Jesus’ ministry: Matthew 20:28 says that “the Son of Man [Jesus] did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Philippians 2:5–7 says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant…” Jesus also said, “I am among you as one who serves,” and He even washed His disciples’ feet which was the job of the lowest servant in a household (Luke 22:27; John 13:5).
Illustrated biblically: Because servants often work behind the scenes, their work, but not their name, is often mentioned in Scripture (e.g., Numbers 11:17; 1 Timothy 6:2; Acts 6:1–3). People named in the Bible who helped the church through service include Phoebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Tryphena, Tryphosa (Romans 16:1–4,12), and John Mark (Acts 13:5). The word sometimes translated “deacon” simply means servant and refers to church leaders who have the gift of helps/service (1 Timothy 3:8–13).
Illustrated historically: Charles Spurgeon is one of the most well-known preachers of the Christian Church in London during the Victorian era. His wife Susannah was a lovely woman he affectionately called “Susie”. As Charles’ popularity was skyrocketing, thousands packed into the Surrey Garden’s Music Hall to hear him preach. Tragically, some troublemaking critics shouted “fire” which caused a panicked stampede that left many injured and some dead. This event sent Charles into a deep depression that returned in seasons throughout his life. Susie was a constant help to him during his bouts with depression, praying for him, serving him, and doing whatever was best to help him through tough times. Susie was struck with health problems that left her largely bedridden at home for the last half of their marriage. To continue to come alongside her husband, she had her bedroom and his study adjoined so she could be there to talk with and pray for him throughout the day. She also sent him affectionate letters when he was away to encourage and help him carry his large ministry load of responsibility. In starting and leading “Mrs. Spurgeon’s Book Fund” she gave away roughly 200,000 books to poor pastors to help them preach God’s Word. She is an amazing woman that my wife Grace has enjoyed studying the life and legacy of, and her life was given to helping and serving her husband and sons in their ministry, along with ministers from around the world, even though she was sickly and confined to a bed. Grace gifted me the four-volume C.H. Spurgeon Autobiography, which Susie completed, and it’s the most treasured books outside of the Bible in my personal library. What she shares in these books continues to help and serve us to this day.
Do you have this gift?
- Do you enjoy helping others become more effective in their work?
- Do you prefer to labor behind the scenes?
- When someone is doing a job poorly, is your first instinct to help them succeed instead of criticizing their failure?
- Do you prefer to work in a supportive role rather than a leadership capacity?
- When you hear of someone with needs, do you offer your services if possible?
- When someone asks for your help, do you have difficulty saying no?
- Do you not necessarily care what your role is as long as you are on a healthy team that is doing good ministry?
- Do more lowly tasks that other people tend to delegate or avoid not bother you and so you do them?
- Do you get asked to do a lot of things, join a lot of ministries, and help a lot of people?
Place in Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:28
Defined: Administration is the God-given ability to give direction and make decisions on behalf of others that result in efficient operation and accomplishment of goals. Administration includes the ability to organize people, things, information, finances, etc. Often the mark of an administrator is the ability to accomplish things in a “fitting and orderly way” (1 Corinthians 14:40).
General makeup: Administrators often have a keen eye for detail. They may also possess the natural talents of organization, observing and using details, problem solving, and reasoning.
Warning: If someone with the gift of administration does not trust leadership, they can become very controlling and try to become the de facto leader through making and enforcing policy, controlling finances, demanding information, and creating cumbersome processes that provide them power. Additionally, people with this gift can lose sight of the big picture and mission as they get overly focused on the small details.
Seen in Jesus’ ministry: Jesus organized His ministry by choosing his inner circle of three disciples (Mark 9:2), appointing the 12 (Mark 3:13–14), and sending out the 72 two-by-two (Luke 10:1).
Illustrated biblically: Joseph (Genesis 41:41–57; 47:13–26), Jethro (Exodus 18), and Titus (Titus 1:5) all demonstrate the gift of administration. The entire book of Nehemiah is a case study in leadership from an incredibly gifted governmental leader with the gift of administration who rebuilt the city of Jerusalem after years of neglect.
Illustrated historically: The Irish people were a brutal and pagan people that Christian missionaries could not successfully find a way to reach until a man that is now known as Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick is technically not a saint, as he was never canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Additionally, Patrick was not actually Irish. Rather, he was an Englishman and a Roman citizen, who spoke Latin and a bit of Welsh. Patrick was born around 390 AD. When he was roughly 16 years of age, he was captured by pirates and taken on a ship to Ireland, where he was sold into slavery. He spent the next six years alone in the wilderness as a shepherd for his master’s cattle and sheep. Patrick was a rebellious non-Christian teenager who had come from a Christian family. His grandfather was a pastor, and his father was a church leader. However, during his extended periods of isolation without any human contact, Patrick began praying and was eventually born again into a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. Patrick endured the years of isolation in rain and snow by praying up to 100 prayers each day and another 100 each night. In his early twenties, God spoke to Patrick in a dream, telling him to flee from his master for a ship that was waiting for him. Amazingly, Patrick made the 200-mile walk without being caught or harmed and found a ship setting sail for his home, just as God had promised. The sailors were out of food for the journey, so Patrick prayed. Miraculously, a herd of pigs ran toward the ship, providing a bountiful feast for the long voyage home. Upon returning home, Patrick enrolled in seminary and was eventually commissioned as a pastor. Some years later, God spoke to Patrick in a dream, commanding him to return to Ireland to preach the Gospel and plant churches for the pagans who lived there. The Roman Catholic Church had given up on converting such “barbarians,” who were deemed beyond hope. The Celtic peoples, of which the Irish were part, were an illiterate bunch of drunken, fighting, perverted pagans. They were such a violent and lawless people, numbering anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000, that they had no city centers or national government and were spread out among some 150 warring clans. Their enemies were terrified of them because they were known to show up for battles and partake in wild orgies before running into battle naked and drunk, screaming as if they were demon-possessed. In faith, the 40-year-old Patrick sold all of possessions, including the land he had inherited from his father, to fund his missionary journey to Ireland. He worked as an itinerant preacher and paid large sums of money to various tribal chiefs to ensure he could travel safely through their lands and preach the Gospel. His strategy was completely unique. He functioned like a missionary, trying to relate to the Irish people and communicate the Gospel in their culture by using such things as three-leaf clovers to explain the Gospel. Upon entering a pagan clan, Patrick would seek to first convert the tribal leaders and other people of influence. He would then pray for the sick, cast demons out of the possessed, preach the Bible, and use both musical and visual arts to persuade people to put their faith in Jesus. If enough converts were present, he would build a simple church that did not resemble ornate Roman architecture, baptize the converts, and hand over the church to a convert he had trained to be the pastor. Then he would move on to repeat the process with another clan. Patrick gave his life to the people who had enslaved him until he died at 77 years of age. He had seen untold thousands of people convert, as between 30-40 of the 150 tribes had become substantially Christian. He trained 1000 pastors, planted 700 churches, and was the first noted person in history to take a strong public stand against slavery.
Do you have this gift?
- When things are poorly organized do you get frustrated and want to help fix things?
- Do you like to see resources best stewarded so that things like money, facilities, time, and energy are utilized for the best return on investment?
- Do you tend to have a risk radar that looks at the downside if things are not done well and seek to safeguard people and organizations by keeping them “buttoned up”?
- Are you attracted to opportunities where someone needs to bring order out of chaos?
- Do you naturally organize your life, schedule, finances, priorities, etc.?
- Do you become energized working on tasks and projects whereas that level of detail work overwhelms or exhausts other people you know?
- Do things like efficiency and promptness matter more to you than most people you know?
- Do things like spreadsheets, budgets, organizational charts and software, files, and highlighters make you happy?
- Do you tend to see Jesus more as a King who rules a perfectly architected and led Kingdom?
Place in Scripture: Romans 12:8
Defined: Giving is the ability to give money and other forms of wealth joyfully, wisely, and generously to meet the needs of others and help support ministries.
General makeup: Regardless of the amount, people with this gift genuinely view their treasures, talents, and time as on loan from God and not their own. They are often moved to meet the physical needs of others. They enjoy giving of themselves and what they have. Even if they do not possess the resources to help, they earnestly pray for those needs to be met.
Warning: Some people who are greedy or manipulative take advantage of people with this gift by seeking to benefit themselves in an ungodly way. Learning to say “no” to everything so you can say “yes” to the things God has for you to give to is critical so that you are not just generous, but also a good steward.
Seen in Jesus’ ministry: Roughly 25% of Jesus’ words in the gospels are related to our resources and stewardship of them. Jesus not only paid His tithe to God, but also paid His taxes to the government and teaches us to do the same (Matthew 17:24-27; 21:15-22). Though He was poor, Jesus not only fed thousands (Mark 6:41) but also gave us His life as a gift (John 15:13). 2 Cor. 8:9 says, “you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
Illustrated biblically: The widow (Mark 12:42–43), Tabitha (Acts 9:36), Barnabas (Acts 4:34–37), and the Macedonian church (2 Cor. 8:1–2) all had this gift.
Illustrated historically: R.G. LeTourneau was a successful businessman who created his own line of earth-moving equipment in addition to some 300 inventions and hundreds of patents. As a Christian, every year he sought to increase his giving to the Lord. Eventually, after years of dedication to generosity and stewardship, his finances were a reverse tithe. Whereas most Christians live off of 90% and give 10% to God, he lived off of 10% and gave 90% TO GOD. He once humorously said, “I shovel out the money, and God shovels it back – but God has a bigger shovel.” He did not start off wealthy, but his life seems to be an illustration of Jesus’ principle regarding finances in Luke 16:10 (NLT), “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” The story of LeTourneau’s life is not that you wait to be generous on a day that you can afford it, but that you start today and continue to be faithful as an act of worship to God.
Do you have this gift?
- Do you tend to see the needs of others more than other people?
- Do you enjoy giving your time, talent, and treasure to help people and ministries?
- Do you see giving to a worthwhile project as an exciting honor and privilege?
- Do you give to God through your local church regularly, cheerfully, and sacrificially?
- Do you often hear people commenting that you are a generous person?
- Do you find yourself looking for opportunities to give your money – even when no one asks?
- Do you pray for the needs of people and organizations to be met because this is a high priority for you?
- When you get something (e.g. a home or vacation home, car, etc.) is your first instinct to think about people you could bless by sharing it with them?
- Do you live with a sense of deep awe at how generous God has been to you?
Place in Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:9
Defined: Faith is the ability to envision what needs to be done and to trust God to accomplish it, even though it seems impossible to most people.
General makeup: Those with the gift of faith trust God in difficult, even impossible, situations, when others are ready to give up. These people are often visionaries who dream big dreams, pray big prayers, and attempt big things for Jesus. These people tend to be optimistic, hopeful, persevering, change-oriented, and future-focused. These people also tend to be very convincing about the truth of Scripture because they themselves are so convinced of the truth and power of God and His Word.
Warning: Sometimes, people with the gift of faith can become irresponsible and not do the things that God has asked them to do, which is disobedience. Instead, they simply say they are trusting God and praying for Him to show up and do what He has already told them to do. This is not faith, but rather folly.
Seen in Jesus’ ministry: In one sense, Jesus’ entire life and ministry could be summarized as one of faith because He continually and perfectly trusted in God, the Father in all things. The reason Jesus never sinned is because everything He did was in faith as Romans 14:23 says, “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
Illustrated biblically: Paul (Acts 27:21–25), Stephen, who was “full of faith” (Acts 6:5), and Jesus’ mother, Mary, who trusted God to give her a child though she was a virgin (Luke 1:26–38). Hebrews 11 also lists some Hall of Fame believers who had the gift of faith.
Illustrated historically: George Mueller (1805-1895) said, “God delights to increase the faith of his children.” Mueller was a man who lived by faith and prayer alone. Charles Dickens “Oliver Twist” motivated Mueller to open the United Kingdom’s first orphanage for orphaned boys and girls. He began without finances and throughout his life never asked anyone for financial support. His first orphanage began with 30 children. He would often pray with the children before meals, trusting God to somehow bring the meal they were to eat within a few minutes. Over his lifetime he cared for over 10,000 orphans, printed Bibles and books, supported over 130 missionaries, and opened a Bible college. He taught in over 30 countries on faith and prayer and died in poverty having never kept anything for himself over the course of his life.
Do you have this gift?
- Do you view obstacles as opportunities and trust God for the impossible?
- Do you find yourself frequently telling stories about the power of God and what you have seen Him do?
- Do you get motivated by new ministries and new opportunities?
- Do you find yourself feeling opposed to anyone who expresses that something cannot be done or accomplished?
- Do you find other believers coming to you for hope when they face a seemingly overwhelming trial or task?
- Do you get frustrated when you see people and ministries stuck, not making plans for the future, or not having hope and vision for something better?
- Do you tend to be less emotionally up and down than many people you know and more even keeled with a strong sense of God’s faithfulness?
- Do you have a big God and high trust in God’s good and sovereign providential rule over all things?
- Do you have an effective prayer ministry with many wonderful answers to prayers that were impossible from the human point of view?
Do you see in yourself or has anyone ever told you that you have the gift of helps/service, administration, giving, or faith? If not, it’s ok, we’ll continue to learn about speaking and sign gifts over the next few days.
To find the 100+ page study guide and sermon series that accompanies this devotional series, or to find a free mountain of Bible teaching, visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.