Monday, 15th November 2021
USE YOUR GIFT!
Pastor Soong Kok Kee
1 Timothy 4: 14: ”Do not neglect your gift!”
God never gives a person a task without also providing him with what’s necessary to perform that responsibility.
W.W. Dawley, referring to this truth says, “God gave Moses a rod, David a sling, Samson the jawbone of a donkey. Shamgar an oxgoad, Esther the beauty of person, Deborah the talent for poetry, Dorcas a needle, and Apollos an eloquent tongue – and to each the ability to use that gift. In so doing, every one of them did most effective works for the Lord.”
Our heavenly Father has given at least one spiritual gift to each of us as believers, and He provides all we need to carry out our individual responsibilities (1 Cor 12:6-7). We are all, without exception, essential in the body of Christ (vv. 14-27). Acknowledging these truths is not only a source of comfort and encouragement, but it is also a sobering reality, for it places before us an important obligation. God’s gift to us must not be squandered! They must be fully used, because someday, “each of us shall give an account of myself to God” (Rom 14:12).
When I first went to church as a teenager, I idolized my Sunday School teacher because he not only could teach well, but he could also lead well in singing and interpret from Cantonese to English and vice versa. I prayed to God that one day I could have those same gifts that God had given to him. I thought at that time that to be used by God, one must be multi-gifted and standing in front of the whole church on stage! How wrong I was!!
If you too feel like that, just remember that Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a daydreamer, Jacob was a liar, Leah was ugly, Joseph was abused, Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon was afraid, Samson had long hair and was a womanizer, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, David had an affair and was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Isaiah preached naked, Jonah ran from God, Naomi was a widow, Job went bankrupt, John the Baptist ate bugs, Peter denied Christ, the Disciples fell asleep while praying, Martha worried about everything, the Samaritan woman was divorced more than once, Zaccheus was too short, Paul was too religious, Timothy had an ulcer and Lazarus was dead! But ALL of them were mightily used by God to His glory. Always remember we are not the message, we all are just messengers.
I remember there was a deaf mute in my church who every Sunday after worship service would quietly gather all the bibles and hymn books left carelessly on the pews by worshippers (remember those days?) and stack them up neatly in the shelves located at the entrance of the church. He must have thought that was his only way of serving God. His quiet dedication prompted many of us worshipers not to leave the bibles and hymns on the pews. He must be the servant who had been given one talent but PTL he didn’t bury that in the ground!
Yes, my dear brothers and sisters, ALL of us are given different gifts, some more but at least ONE and we are all to use that to serve our Lord and “finished the race and kept the faith” as Paul had proudly proclaimed at the end of his life.
At 7 pm on October 20, 1968, a few thousand spectators remained in the Mexico City Olympic Stadium. It was almost dark. The last of the marathon runners were stumbling across the finish line.
Finally, the spectators heard the wail of sirens on police cars. As eyes turned to the gate, a lone runner wearing the colors of Tanzania staggered into the stadium. His name was John Stephen Akhwari. He was the last contestant to finish the 26 mile 385 yard contest. His leg had been injured in a fall and was bloodied and crudely bandaged. He hobbled the final lap around the track.
The spectators rose and applauded him as though he were the winner. After he had crossed the finish line, someone asked him why he had not quit. He replied simply, “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it.”
My dear brothers and sisters, remember not all heroes receive medals. Yet, for those of us who faithfully live for Christ, as the apostle Paul did, know that someday we will receive a crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8). Our Lord, the righteous Judge, will reward all of us who long for His return and are faithful to use the gifts, even one gift, in spite of difficulties and finish our race.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for reminding us that ALL of us have been given gifts, some more, some less and some even one. And we are to use that to the best of our ability to the task You have given to us so that we can finish that race and glorify your name. In your precious name we pray AMEN.
道利 (W.W. Dawley)在提到这个事实时说： “上帝赐给摩西 (Moses) 一根杖，给了大卫 (David) 一个机弦，参孙 (Samson) ，一块驴腮骨； 珊迦 (Shamgar)， 一根赶牛棍；以斯帖 (Esther) ，美貌；底波拉 (Deborah)，诗歌的天才；多加 (Dorcas)，一根针；亚波罗 (Apollos)，雄辩的舌头 – 并赋予每个人使用该恩赐的能力。他们每个人这样做，都为主做了最有效的工作。”
我们的天父至少给了我们每个信徒一个属灵恩赐，祂提供了我们履行个人责任所需的一切（哥林多前书 12章6-7节）。在基督的身体中，我们无一例外都是必不可少的（14-27 节）。承认这些事实不仅是一种安慰和鼓励的来源，也是一个发人深省的现实，因为它把一项重要的义务摆在我们面前。不能浪费上帝给我们的恩赐！必须充分使用它们，因为有一天， “我们各人必要将自己的事在上帝面前说明。” （罗马书 第14章12节)。
如果您也有这种感觉，请记住诺亚(Noah)是个醉酒的，亚伯拉罕(Abraham)太老了，以撒(Isaac)是个白日梦者，雅各(Jacob)是个骗子，利亚(Leah)是丑陋的，约瑟(Joseph)遭恶待，摩西(Moses)有口吃的问题，基甸(Gideon)胆怯，参孙(Samson)有长头发是好色之徒，喇合(Rahab)是妓女，耶利米(Jeremiah) 和提摩太(Timothy) 太年轻，大卫 (David) 有外遇是杀人犯，以利亚 (Elijah) 有自杀倾向，以赛亚 (Isaiah) 露身赤脚传道，约拿 (Jonah) 逃避上帝，拿俄米 (Naomi) 是寡妇，约伯 (Job) 破产了，施洗约翰 (John) 吃虫子，彼得 (Peter) 否认基督，门徒 (Disciples) 祷告时睡着了，马大 (Martha) 为一切操心，撒玛利亚 (Samaritan) 妇人不止一次离婚，撒该 (Zaccheus) 太矮，保罗 (Paul) 太虔诚，提摩太 (Timothy) 得了溃疡，拉撒路 (Lazarus) 死了！但他们都被上帝大大使用来荣耀祂。永远记住我们不是信息，我们都只是传递信息的人。
是的，我亲爱的兄弟姐妹们，我们所有人都被赋予了不同的恩赐，有的更多，但至少有一个，我们都应该用它来侍奉我们的主，并 “跑尽了当跑的路并守住了所信的道” 正如保罗在临终时自豪地宣告的那样。
1968 年 10 月 20 日晚上 7 点，墨西哥城奥林匹克体育场内仍有几千名观众。天快黑了。最后一名马拉松选手跌跌撞撞地冲过终点线。
终于，观众们听到了警车鸣笛的声音。视线转向大门口时，一名身着坦桑尼亚颜色衣服的赛跑者独自踉踉跄跄地走进了体育场。他的名字是约翰·斯蒂芬·阿赫瓦里 (John Stephen Akhwari)。他是最后一位完成 26 英里 385 码比赛的参赛者。他的腿因跌倒受伤了，血迹斑斑，包扎得很粗糙。他一瘸一拐地绕着赛道跑了最后一圈。
观众起立为他鼓掌，好像他是胜利者一样。冲过终点线后，有人问他为什么不放弃。他简单地回答说： “我的国家不是 7,000 英里派我来开始比赛，他们 7,000 英里派我来完成它。”
亲爱的兄弟姐妹们，记住不是所有的英雄都会获得奖牌。然而，对于那些像使徒保罗那样忠心为基督而活的人来说，我们知道有一天我们会得到公义的冠冕 (提摩太后书 第4章8节)。我们的主，公义的审判者，会奖赏我们所有渴望祂再来并忠心使用恩赐，即使是一项恩赐，尽管困难重重并完成我们的赛跑的人。