Using Our Gifts

Monday, May 20, 2024
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Listen while you read: "Take The Name Of Jesus With You"1 (Lyrics)

When my husband retired at age 55, we moved to a mountain community in central California, USA. Soon, he began to lead Sunday services at the nearby home for disabled adults. Struggling to find ways to help them understand God's message, he discovered object lessons: using visual aids to introduce and enhance the Scripture. For instance, baby food can be used to develop a lesson on how we need to grow up spiritually and study the Bible.

As he expanded his repertoire, he discovered gospel illusions: using tricks or illusions to present the good news through visual parables. He developed a program that included a variety of "hand magic" — no elaborate props, just simple illusions that mystified the audience.

When we travelled, we looked for opportunities to share. We presented our program in campgrounds and churches as we travelled around the United States, including two churches while on a cruise in Alaska.

1 Peter 4:10 – God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. (NLT)

My husband was not by nature a public speaker, but he persisted in using this late-in-life gift that God gave him. In his late 70s, this gift blossomed into being a substitute preacher in the recreational vehicle park chapels that we served with in our summer home. Anyone who knew him in his 40s would never have believed that that could happen.

Each of us has at least one God-given gift that we can use to spread the gospel and to serve others. Some gifts are more obvious: preaching, teaching, leading music, or singing solos. But others are not. I remember a gracious lady in our church in California who declared that she had no gift. I gently corrected her, "You are the most hospitable person I've ever met. You welcome people at church and into your home. You bless those around you with your sweet attitude, making everyone feel welcome." She was looking for something more visible and didn't realize the impact that she had on others.

Philippians 2:3-4 – Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. (NLT)

In addition to discovering our gifts, we need to use them to bless and build up others. We need to make sure that others are encouraged, honoured, built up, strengthened, and equipped through our actions.

Do you know what your gift is? Are you using it to honour God and serve others? It's never too late to find out, as my husband discovered.

Prayer: Father, help us to discover and to use our gifts in Your service. We want to be a blessing and encouragement to others. Amen.

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About the author:

Sharon Cook <craftercook@gmail.com>
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    So true, Sharon.


    Your prayer – is my prayer.


    Amen and amen, Sharon. To God be the glory! Blessings.


    Thanks Sharon,
    What a good reminder to throw out there.


    Sharon,
    Well, obviously, your gift is writing. Thank you for your devotional.


    Sharon, isn’t it such an amazing thing to discover one’s spiritual gift! Thank you for sharing this story about your late husband.


    Thanks, Sharon, for your devotional today. Yes, we are each created individually, and need use the God-given gifts in ways that are helpful to others. Blessings for your writings.


    Thank you for your inspirational message. I am 78 and slowly recovering from a severe illness. I was very active in my church community, but I don’t have the physical strength to pick up where I left off. Your message makes me aware of other things I can do that are different than before.


    Good morning, Sharon!
    Thank you for your beautiful message today “Using Our Gifts”. Every day ordinary people share their gifts with others without realizing that they are being used by God.
    Blessings!


    Hi Sharon,
    if you have done nothing else by writing your devotionals, you have expanded (for the good) my outlook on “trailer” parks! My age would reveal how I grew up thinking about them! Besides that, your messages are always thoughtful. Thanks, Sharon.


    Good morning, Sharon,
    I really enjoy hearing how your husband shared his faith and some of the ideas he found to enhance his points. I didn’t start thinking about talents until I started Bible study later in life.
    For me this statement you made is very important, “In addition to discovering our gifts, we need to use them to bless and build up others. We need to make sure that others are encouraged, honoured, built up, strengthened, and equipped through our actions.”
    I appreciate you are always willing to share and help us all think about how we use our faith. Blessings.


    Good morning, Sharon,
    I can relate to your message today, when I refocused, not retired, at age 45 I also got very involved in doing Bible related activities in churches and at the local long-term care facility.
    I would never have thought that I could do that. I had to give it up when Covid came. I have still led some church services, but that too has become a chore. As a matter of fact, I got an Email from a summer church at a local beach some 40 miles away where I preached a couple of times each summer and I reluctantly turned it down. The stress of preparing, the situation at home, the long drive is just too much. I’m missing it.
    Thanks for your good words. I can relate.
    Blessings to you and yours.


    A powerful message Sharon! Blessings


    Your devotion was a true encouragement to me. My husband and I are retired with my husband in early-stage cognitive decline. He has a beautiful baritone-tenor voice and has an opportunity to use it in a choir setting. Reading your devotional had helped us to decide to join that choir. Thank you!


    You are amazing.

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