Have you ever heard of “freeports?” I had no idea they existed until last week when I heard a report on the radio about these private warehouses scattered around the world that hold works of art worth millions of dollars for months or years at a time. The owner describes the place with these words.
"It’s just boxes all over. Masterpieces from every era, worthy of the best museums in the world. The public isn’t allowed in. Even the owners may not see them for years."
It makes no sense. Art is supposed to be seen, exposed, appreciated. The report reminded me of the parable of the talents. It seems like these warehouses are giant holes in the ground where people hide their beautiful treasures for fear of their master.
We may not Own Expensive Art, but…
Except for a small painting given to me by a distant cousin who is a talented artist, I don’t own any valuable work of art. What I do “have” are valuable spiritual gifts that were entrusted to me by God. Scripture gives us several lists of gifts (1, 2, 3) that the Holy Spirit bestows on God’s children. As a leader, I am accountable to use the ones entrusted to me “to equip His people for works of service, so that the Body of Christ may be built up.” Because we represent different Christian traditions, we may have different lists of gifts, but we all agree that the Holy Spirit empowers believers with supernatural abilities for the work of ministry.
These gifts are not our property,
entrusted to us by our master.
We are accountable for investing these and making them prosper. Here are three steps to live and serve using our unique mix of Spiritual Gifts.
- Discern. We could say Jesus had them all, but we are entrusted with some of the gifts. Our first responsibility is to prayerfully discern which ones He has entrusted us. Study scripture, read what others have written, and discuss with mentors. There are even online surveys that can help discern your gifts.
- Develop your gifts. Once we identify the specific areas God has empowered us to serve, our responsibility is to “fan into flame the gift of God which is in (us).” It’s like the muscles of our bodies. They shrink when not used, but stretch and grow when we exercise them. Every believer needs to grow in the ability to use their unique gifts through greater knowledge and practical experience.
- Deploy your Gifts. The purpose of a work of art is to be seen and appreciated. That can’t happen inside a box in a warehouse. Likewise, the purpose of a Spiritual Gift is to serve others. That doesn’t happen in isolation, but in the fellowship of believers – the Church.
We can become all that God has created us to be when there is an alignment between our talents and gifts, our vision and mission, and our goals. This doesn’t happen automatically, but is the result of years of personal growth, deepening intimacy with God, and leadership development.
We can make tremendous progress by
discerning, developing, and deploying the special Spiritual Gifts
God has entrusted to us by His Spirit.