Serving With Your Gifts 2: Distinct Gifts
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Serving with Your Gifts
Romans 12:1-8 (ESV)
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 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.
We should seek out distinct ways to serve.
I) Be specific and responsible
- v4 “the members do not all have the same function”
- v6 “having gifts that differ” “let us use them” (vv6-8)
- find a distinct way to serve and own it
II) Be coordinated and collaborative
- v5 “we, though many, are one body in Christ”
- work to synchronize your distinct role with those in other roles
III) Be spiritual and tangible
- v1 “present your bodies as a living sacrifice… which is your spiritual worship”
- v2 “transformed by the renewal of your mind”
- God’s will is done on earth through renewed people acting in union with Christ
Questions for Reflection
- Do you prefer to work on your own, or with a group (in general, or reflect on different scenarios)? Why? What advantages do you see in your preferred way of doing things, and what challenges do you face when doing the other way?
- Where do you prefer to serve? In a particular area of church life? Outside of the church?
- What are some marks of a good, healthy and positive attitude towards serving, volunteering, and working within ministries of the church? What are challenges to participating in church ministries? What don’t churches do well?
- If you are currently committed to serving in a particular area of church life, how can you take greater responsibility for (or in) the role you play?
- What roles in the church would be most stressful for you? What types of service would require things of you that would wear you down? Assuming you can find a place to serve that is somewhat energizing for you, how can you coordinate your work with those in the rules whose gifts are very different?
- How can the next season of your serving be effective at increasing your discernment? What can you do to get input or feedback as you test your gifts and try to refine ways where you can be used by God more effectively?
- How can your actions be acts of spiritual worship? What can make the way you live your life more in line with being a “living sacrifice”? What can you do to change the experience of your life with Christ so that everything is done in response to God’s mercy and as a willing participation in God’s good work?
Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, you have shown us great mercy and you invite us to respond by offering ourselves as a living sacrifice. We confess we are rarely eager to contribute to your work. Instead we complain about the cost of serving, we grumble about what your work requires of us, and we hide within the body so we don’t have to claim responsibility for the work you have entrusted to us. We even grumble against those whose gifts are different from ours, instead of giving thanks and patiently working together with them. Thank you for Jesus who offered himself as a sacrifice, and for your mercy, which endures for ever. Forgive us and lead us to discern the opportunities you present every day to offer ourselves in your service. Empower our actions by our Spirit. Amen.