The Time To Use Your Gifts Is Now!December 24, 2014
Before I say one other thing in this letter, I have some very exciting news to tell you! The day we’ve waited for is FINALLY HERE when we can say that the Moscow Good News Church has a permanent home in Russia’s capital city, and the doors of the church are officially OPEN!
We completed phase one of the reconstruction so we could take occupancy and begin saving immediately on the rent we were paying at the old facility. We still have more to do, but we’ve already held our first service in the newly reconstructed facility, and we have scheduled a date for our grand opening! I’ll be sure to tell you all about that wonderful event in my next letter and share with you some of our experiences along the way on this long journey of faith and obedience to God. Not only has God faithfully caused our faith to turn to sight, but He has also done a great work in us personally, in our hearts, as we cry out today with greater conviction than ever: “Great is His faithfulness!’
Thank you for celebrating this moment with me as you read this letter. Denise and I are overjoyed and profoundly grateful for every gift given and every prayer prayed by our friends and partners to help us realize this dream come true. It has been an amazing journey so far, and our partners have been right there with us to help us. We can never say it enough: Thank you for everything you do to help us fulfill our calling and assignment in the former Soviet Union and around the world!
The Christmas season is here once again, a time of the year when believers all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The plan of God to send His only begotten Son into this world by way of the Virgin Birth was truly amazing. Think about it: God’s own Son would be born as a human, live and minister as the likeness and representation of God on the earth, and then die a cruel death as the sacrificial Lamb who would take away the sins of the world! It was no small plan ¾ in fact, it was one that changed the course of history for mankind forever. It was a perfect plan fulfilled at the perfect time. Galatians 4:4 says, “…When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son….”
God sent Jesus at just the right time because we know that the timing of God is always perfect. But this month, I want to talk to you about a different kind of “right timing,” and that is the right time to begin using the gifts and talents God has placed within you.
When is the right time to step out and do something with the grace of God upon your life? Certain things in the will and plan of God have to do with His timing, and that often confuses people because they think they have to wait and wait to start doing something with the gifts He has given them. They think there’s going to be a special moment in time when the curtain will be drawn and they will immediately step onto the stage of their lives and do something spectacular for the Lord.
Often people wait and wait for a fantasy-like “perfect moment” when they will launch their business, ministry, or big dream in life! But I want to tell you that very few successful people began with that kind of a perfect moment. In fact, what most people would refer to as spectacular success stories actually began very unspectacularly. If you study the lives of people who have made a significant contribution to this world, you’ll find that their journey often began with a decision on their part to just get started!
Certainly you can choose to wait around wishing for a “perfect moment” to come when the skies part, lightning bolts strike, and beams of glory land all around your feet to signal that your big moment has finally come. But if this is what you’re waiting for, I want to tell you that you will probably be waiting a very long time! That just isn’t the way God does things. He gives you gifts and talents, and He expects you to use them, regardless of their size. As you do, He will begin to bless the work of your hands. On the other hand, if you choose to wait for a fantasy-like, ideal situation to develop before you ever do anything with your gifts, you’ll probably never get started!
When I was a young man, I daydreamed of the time when my ministry would begin and I could start using the gifts and talents I had received from the Lord. I would lie in bed at night and envision the day when I would finally “step up to the plate” and begin my ministry. Then one day as I was praying, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. He told me that it was time to quit fantasizing and to get started! I had always thought that I was waiting for that perfect moment to take the first step. But all the while, God was waiting for me to get up and start doing something with the gifts He had placed in my life!
I knew I had a gift to teach the Bible ¾ so since that was what God had equipped me to do, I decided to use my gift! I invited my friends to a Bible study that I would lead on the university campus where I was studying. I invited people, knocked on doors, handed out leaflets, and started intensely preparing to teach my very first public verse-by-verse study in the New Testament! Today I still have the notes I prepared for the first series I ever taught, and I treasure those notes. They are memories from those early days when I was just getting started in the ministry. My beginning was small ¾ so small it was almost unnoticeable ¾ but it was a beginning.
Everyone has to have a beginning ¾ including you! If you know what God has gifted you to do, don’t wait around and lose precious time as you wait for a hypothetical, fantasy-like “perfect moment” to get started. Instead, why not put your hand to the plow and begin to use your gifts right now? Once you take that step of faith, God will have something to bless. But as long as you do nothing, you’re not giving Him anything to prosper!
This is precisely why Peter wrote, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). In this month’s letter, I want to share with you something very powerful from this verse of Scripture that I believe will encourage you.
First of all, I want you to notice that Peter says “As every man hath received the gift….” The words “every man” are translated from the Greek word hekastos, which is an all-inclusive word that literally means every single person, no one excluded. This undeniably means that every person who has been born of the Spirit and who declares that Jesus is Lord has been supernaturally endowed with gifts from God! Because this word hekastos is used, it emphatically means that no one is excluded from having received these God-given gifts. Even the person with the lowest self-esteem is mightily gifted by the Spirit of God but is simply unaware of the powerful gifts that reside within.
So if you think that you’re not gifted, I don’t mind telling you that you are wrong! The usage of the word hekastos in First Peter 4:10 clearly means that you, too, are endowed with magnificent, God-given gifts.
Peter goes on to say, “As every man hath received the gift….” This word “received” comes from the Greek word lambano, which is used 258 times in the New Testament, and it means to receive into one’s possession or to take into one’s own control and ownership. Lambano carries the idea of taking hold of something; grasping on to something; or embracing something so tightly that it becomes your very own. When used in connection with God-given gifts, as Peter uses it in this verse, it portrays God as the giver of gifts and us as the receivers. Once we receive the gift of God, He sees it as our responsibility to accept it as ours and to take complete ownership of it!
Peter goes on to say, “As every man hath received the gift.…” The word “gift” in this verse is the word charisma, derived from the word charis, which is the Greek word for grace. But when the word charis becomes charisma, it speaks of grace-given gifts. In other words, these are not gifts that are earned or deserved; rather, these are gifts imparted supernaturally and divinely by God’s own grace. Therefore there is no room for boasting or self-glorying in possessing these magnificent gifts. The gifts God bestows are not natural talents developed by one’s own ability. They are supernatural graces that are divinely imparted by the Spirit of God. And according to First Peter 4:10, God has graced every child of His with supernatural, miraculous gifts that are beyond his or her own natural ability. Once released and activated, these gifts bring the supernatural, life-changing power of God into manifestation to meet and answer human need.
And, yes, you have these powerful gifts inside you! Are they just waiting for you to take ownership of them and use them?
Peter goes on to say, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another.…” This word “minister” comes from the Greek word diakoneo, which portrays a servant whose primary responsibility is to serve food and wait on tables. It presents a picture of a waiter who painstakingly attends to the needs, wishes, and desires of his client. It is this servant’s supreme task to please his clients; therefore, he serves honorably, pleasurably, and in a fashion that makes the people he waits on feel as if they are nobility. This is a committed, professional server who is fanatically dedicated to doing his job on the highest level possible.
By choosing this Greek word diakoneo, Peter alerts us to the fact that God expects us to be radically, fanatically committed to using the gifts He has given us in such a way that pleases Him and meets the needs of others. That is why Peter continues to say, “As every man hath received the gift, so let him minister the same one to another.…” God intends for us to use our gifts to minister to one another. These gifts are not given for self-glory or self-promotion, but for the benefit of the larger community.
I encourage you to think about what you can start doing right now with your God-given talents. Dare to take ownership of those gifts and do something with them to begin blessing others. It doesn’t have to be big or spectacular. In fact, what you first put your hand to as you step out to serve humanity with your gifts probably won’t be spectacular.
Please let us know this month how we can be praying for you. Denise and I and our staff pray for our partners every day, anyway, but hearing from you helps us focus our faith on the things that are closest to your heart. It is one of the greatest joys of our ministry to stand with you for answers to your prayers and the fulfillment of your God-given dreams.
We love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner