Philosophy Lite: Make use of your gifts, talents
Each of us has special God-given talents, gifts and abilities that we are to use in his service. To some, that gift may be obvious, while others may have to discover and develop that giftedness. The Bible teaches that as Christ's disciples, we are saved to serve - to have a part in bringing in his Kingdom.
Every one can find some area of service that he is fit for and that will benefit the community of believers and those outside of God's kingdom. As soon as one becomes a Christian he should begin to start developing a feeling for the brotherhood of man - first in the church, and then for the unbelievers. With this sense of feeling for all of God's children, every form of ministry can bring a feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction. First Corinthians 12 tells us that just as the body has many parts that work together, and all are necessary, so we all as important parts of the body of Christ need to serve together so that the whole body may prosper. Romans 12: 6-8 instructs us: "Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 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." There is also the gift of encouragement.
Every individual in God's sight is unique. When Francis Asbury addressed the graduating class of the new Asbury Theological Seminary, he told the men not to imitate other preachers; he told them to exercise their own talents as an extension of their own personalities - to be themselves.
Opportunities are everywhere. A lady I remember in Brownsville had a gift of hospitality. She was a good cook, and her home was open for any occasion. A few have the gift of counseling. Since this can have critical consequences, one should be aware of his or her limitations and refer difficult cases to a professional. Read the book, "Competent to Counsel" by Jay Adams. Read also, "Christian Caregiving - A Way Of Live" by Kenneth Haugk.
There is a need for evangelization; Barna's investigations reveal that only 1 percent of Christians feel gifted in this area. Local hospitals are always in need of lay persons to visit patients as pastoral care volunteers. Local hospices need volunteers to visit and minister to patients. There are many benevolences around town that can use your talents. Distributing tracts is another way to make a difference. Jail ministries are especially rewarding, for many inmates are ready to turn their lives around with a little encouragement. The Victoria County Jail can use volunteers as well as the state jail in Cuero and the Bill Glass prison ministries.
What is your ministry? Don't wait to be asked by someone - just get involved.
Raymond F. Smith is president of Strong Families of Victoria.