This was the first non-funeral sermon I had preached in quite sometime. I actually had begun writing this about a week before I was invited to preach it. So it felt good to be in a pulpit again just preaching because I was moved to and invited to, not in the course of mourning a loss. There is an interesting story regarding how this sermon developed, but I will save that for another time. Hope you enjoy it.
Corinthians 12:1; 4-11
concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
.........Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are
differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of
operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the
manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word
of knowledge by the same Spirit; To
another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same
Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to
another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another
the interpretation of tongues: But
all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man
severally as he will.
Is Your Spiritual Gift?
have here Paul speaking to the church at Corinth about the several gifts that
God has given man. These special
gifts that God has given to each and every person.
Some say there are 19 spiritual gifts.
Some say there are more than 20. And there are others, which is the one I
personally believe, who say that there are so many spiritual gifts, it would be
difficult for us to number them all.
what exactly is a spiritual gift? And
how do you know you have it? And
then once you figure out that you have it, how do you use it?
How do you use it for the betterment of God and yourself?
you ever encountered someone who said they weren’t good at anything?
Or maybe someone who was at a point in their life where they didn’t
exactly what they wanted to do or what they wanted to be.
As you are preparing for your Youth Revival, it is particularly
noteworthy to acknowledge that there are a lot of children, teenagers, young
adults and adults alike who have no idea what they are capable of.
your station in life is not an east task. There
are millions of people who wander around aimlessly in life, not knowing what to
do next or how they should do it. But somewhere, in the core of their soul, they feel as if
they are destined for something greater.
can’t explain it, they can’t describe it, they can’t put their finger on
it. But somewhere deep inside, they
know, that they should be doing something……ANYTHING…….aside from what
they are or are not doing at the moment.
it is that gnawing, gut feeling, that indescribable “thing” that you need to
seek out. To find what it is that
God has placed within you. And to
use it not only for the betterment of yourself, but also to the glory of God in
it comes easy. I realized one of my
gifts early on in life. My gift of
writing. Now I was never a great
athlete, I was never a wiz at the books, but I knew, almost from the start that
I could write. In grade school I
would write short stories and plays and the like.
As I migrated to high school, I developed an interest in journalism,
which carried over to college. Then
as time grew on, my interest in journalism dissipated, but my desire to write,
to express myself with the written word intensified. In college I started writing a book, but never finished it.
I kept writing short stories and other stories.
I would keep a journal just to have something to write.
It didn’t always matter to me if someone read it, but I had to
one day, before going to church, inspiration struck me.
And I would spend the next six years of my life working on that
inspiration. The result of that is
a yet to be published novel, but one that I know will be published.
writing talent, depending on who you talk to, has been both a blessing and a
curse in my ministry. In fact, after the first time my father heard me preach,
he said, “Well, I knew you could write, but I didn’t know you could
speak.” Tho there are still some
people who still claim I can’t speak very well in public.
it was this writing thing, this desire to express myself, this need to put words
to paper, or my case, fingers to a keyboard, since I type everything on the
computer……but it was this need to express my spirituality, my faith, my
calling, my religion, my God…….that has brought me through some really rough
it wasn’t really until about 5 years ago I really realized that this writing
thing, this talent, this gift, came from none other than God.
This was the one thing that God decided I would be good at, the one thing
that no one could take away from me.
why am I bringing all this up? Very
many people here this morning know EXACTLY what their spiritual gift is?
Show by raising your hands…..
how many people THINK they know what their spiritual gift MIGHT be, but aren’t
too sure? Again, raise your hands.
how many people here have NO CLUE as to what their gift is?
majority of us fall into the latter two categories. Those who think they know and those who have no clue.
But I am here to show you this morning that you in fact DO know what you
gift is. All you have to do is
think a little bit, do a little bit of self-examination, and do some prayer, and
I tell you, with a bit of faith, your spiritual gift, your personal gift from
God will be revealed to you.
of it this way. Is there one thing
your friends, family, co-workers or church members are always asking you to do?
Is it one of those things that no matter where you go, where you are,
even if you are with people who do not know you at all.
Somehow, someway, you wind up doing the same thing time after time after
this can be as simple as singing in the choir.
But you don’t think you have a great voice.
maybe it’s decorating the church or making up really pretty signs.
you are the one your friends always call when they have a problem.
maybe you are the one that they call not when they have a problem, but when they
need someone to listen.
you’re the type of person that is a wiz with money, even though you are not an
accountant or a CPA.
maybe you’re good with your hands, able to fix any and everything just by
looking at it once or twice.
there are millions of other examples. But
if you find yourself doing something time and time again, and you’re GOOD at
it……you, my brothers and sisters, are on your way to discovering your
you stop and think about it, the gift from God is something that is usually
quite obvious to everyone but YOU. But
they’ll call you arrogant or conceited if you are always doing it and know
you’re doing it well. But why
should you be arrogant about a gift that your Father, your Heavenly Father, the
one who knows all, sees all and creates all, gives you? Once you get to the point that you realize what it is that
God has given you, why shouldn’t you use it?
Why shouldn’t you help people with your gift. Or the better question, why shouldn’t you help YOURSELF
with the gift that YOUR God gave YOU?
about it. Think about it long and
hard. We as Christians are supposed
to be this humble lot. Meek and
unassuming. But when you have a God
like the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, the same God that could part the sea,
turn water into wine, create the world with the wave of a hand, and that is the
same God that gives you a gift…………….shouldn’t you be proud?
Should be bold in sharing that gift?
Especially when it might help someone BESIDES you?
see, there are too many people wandering around in this life, waiting for their
moment in the sun. Their moment to
shine. Their moment to prove all
the naysayers and the non-believers wrong. But they need something.
Just one thing to show everyone that they are not living their life in
vain. One thing to show that they
are worthy to be a child of God. Just
one thing to show that their life is indeed worth living.
one thing, is your gift from God. That
one thing is what God has ordained for you to do or be.
The one thing that He has called you to do.
Because let’s not fool ourselves.
Preachers aren’t the only ones that are called.
And even then, some preachers call themselves.
But just as God calls preachers, he calls teachers, doctors, lawyers,
electricians, plumbers, bus drivers, caterers, you name it.
If there is something that you excel at, chances are, God called you to
be that and do that.
is no profession that is NOT noble according to God, especially if He called you
to it in the first place.
ago, there was the big debate between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois.
Booker T. said go and learn a trade.
That was the best thing for black folks to do.
But then DuBois came with his Talented Tenth theory, and encouraged
blacks to go to school and get educated. And
you even had them at odds with each other.
Both of these God fearing men, were at odds over what path and what route
black people should take.
God has made it possible for us to take BOTH paths, and then a couple of others.
There are some of us who are not mechanically inclined at all.
Wouldn’t know what to do with a hammer if it hit THEM on the head.
Then there are those people, who aren’t that good with the intellectual
pursuits. They just can’t get
into the whole “book and school thing.”
And that’s okay.
me pause here for a moment. You
know, sometimes we do our own people, especially our own young people, a
disservice. We push college,
college, college. Well I am here to
tell you that college is not for everyone.
There are some people who are just not suited for that environment.
These are people who should be encouraged to go out and seek a trade, if
that is their inclination. What’s
wrong with going to cosmetology school or being a barber?
Everyone needs their hair done or hair cut.
What’s wrong with being a journeyman, or a plumber’s apprentice?
Everyone needs a plumber or an electrician.
In fact, I have a friend right now, who never went to college, who stands
this year to make more as a electrician and telephone installer than some of my
friends who are in corporate America. What’s wrong with using your hands to
make a living? Why do we put this
pressure on our kids to make them think that college is the only answer? It’s wrong and it’s unfair.
We need to allow our children to come into their own in their own way and
stop pushing our will, which isn’t always theirs, on them.
I digress. A spiritual gift, is
much like a calling. Sooner or
later, you are going to have to use it. So why not spend some time, talk to God,
listen to God, and most importantly, pay attention to God and what He is telling
you and giving you and use the gift or gifts that He is giving you.
must notice that Paul does not tell us in the scriptures that I read earlier
that we only get one gift. He says in verse 11 “But all these
worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as
Paul says in the beginning of those verses, he
didn’t want the people of Corinth to be ignorant.
He didn’t want them to go unaware.
He wanted them to have knowledge. Knowledge
of self and knowledge of God. And
knowledge of the gifts that God has bestowed upon His people.
And God is saying that to you. What
good is a God who has those who are unaware and unexamined?
God wants us to be enlightened, knowledgeable, intelligent, and confident
in those abilities that He has given us. He
wants our young people to grow up to use the several gifts He has given them,
and use them to the best of their God given ability.
see, we toss around the phrase “gift from God” lightly.
To me, tho it is not listed, one of the greatest sins is to waste your
gift. To not use it to it’s
fullest potential. Sure you may not
be rich, you may not have the big car or the big house.
But you will have that relationship with God, something far more valuable
that money, clothes, cars, homes. That
relationship with God, when He works though you and with you, to use your gift. The right way and the proper way. If you truly understand what a “gift from God is”
something that only God can give you and no one, nothing, no force, no power,
real or imagined, can take away from you – then you start getting further and
further away from that ignorance Paul spoke of in the first verse.
That a “gift from God”, a spiritual gift, is yours for the using.
After all, why would God give it to you if He didn’t want you to use
makes many avenues available to learn how to use your spiritual gifts.
The church is one good place. The
church – the former hub of the black community.
The place to come to find out information.
Where people honed their skills and their talents.
How many singers have we heard say the place they first learned to sing
was not in music school or by listening to the radio, but by singing in church.
we took the collective talent that is present in our churches around this
country, molded and shaped our young people into recognizing and utilizing their
gifts, there is no telling what we, as a community, would be able to accomplish.
We wouldn’t be worrying about education in our schools, because we’d
be turning out the best and the brightest around.
We’d be turning out doctors and lawyers and plumbers and electricians
and teachers at a rate none of us can imagine.
If we use the gifts that God has given us, and applied them, and applied
them in the right way, with the right motivation, there is no telling what we
would be able to accomplish.
God already started us off with one basic gift. One primary gift. The gift of all gifts. The gift of Jesus. The gift of the one who came to sacrifice all the He was in order that the rest of us might accept that gift, then accept the other gifts that are to come.
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