Aloha Friday Message – July 27, 2012 – Keep on Heapin’ on!!

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Read it online here.

Aloha nui loa, Beloved. Last week we continued our examination of gifts. In that message I said that this week we would be looking more deeply into what goes into good stewardship. Before delving into that there is another subject I would like to touch upon. The recent event in Aurora, Colorado is something that is going to be in the news, and in our minds and hearts for weeks and months ahead. The sheer audacity of such an act traumatizes our personal sensibilities. However, it also elicits from us things that are the antitheses of revulsion and terror.

We learn and recognize that there are people who have the capacity to perform remarkable heroic acts of self-sacrifice, of bravery, or of compassion. We also learn that there are many, many more people like them – good people – than there are people who can do such horrific damage. We learn there are people whose generosity is so remarkable that they give deeply and do not count the cost; they send money, they send letters and cards, they buy candles and teddy bears and flowers and all sorts of gifts to memorialize the persons injured. There are people who have such compassion for those who have lost so much that their tears and sorrow engulf them, sometimes even to the point of incurring personal injury like PTSD as well. We see communities rally together to strengthen and encourage one another – in this case even to the point of stirring up sentiments of national unity. All of this goodwill, compassion, kindness, generosity, courage, sacrifice – all are good gifts, and all come from God. All of us have these gifts. All of us have the gifts. All of us have these gifts. NOT all of us GIVE these gifts.

The good gifts we have do come from God. When we use those gifts, we honor the Giver of All Good Gifts. Every gift comes with a purpose. All gifts come with the same purpose. Really? How can that be? We saw that there are so many Good Gifts that they are too numerous to count. Last week we listed Nine Gifts and Nine Fruits. But, there is an even greater number of ways to express those gifts and to bear those fruits. The purpose of all these gifts is that we should use them. Let’s pick one and see what it means to use your gift. Let’s pull from the middle of the list: #5 the Gift of Healing.

If you have the gift of healing, God has blessed you with an openness to the supernatural power which comes through the Holy Spirit and miraculously brings healing from a physical, mental, or spiritual infirmity. In Ephesians 4:11-12 Paul is talking about Christ and the Spirit when he says, “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Your gift is not for your personal use. Your gift was given to you to give to others; not just to share with others, you must give it to others. Jesus himself commanded this when dispatching the disciples (see Matthew 10:8) Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

If you gave a gift to your best friend and s/he left it in the box and put it in a drawer or in the attic or a closet, what would you think? Would you be offended? Suppose your gift was something edible. Do you think you would be less offended if s/he unwrapped it, put it on the mantel, and left it there? Perhaps your gift was a unique handmade article of clothing. What if s/he unwrapped it, thanked you profusely for your artistry and handiwork, and then never wore it? What if nearly every gift you gave to someone you loved was never used?!?!? Would you be discouraged?

Beloved, our gifts are given for the benefit of others, not for our benefit. Using our gifts, giving our gifts, even sharing our gifts is how we benefit from the gifts we are given. They are not ours to hoard. They are not ours to ignore. If you have the gift of singing, but are embarrassed to do it solo, join the choir. (In my book there are two singing groups in the church. One leads the music – the song-leaders – and they provide the musicianship to get the music into the hands of the choir. The choir is everyone else at church that follows what the musicians present.) If you have the skills for it, join the song-leaders. And as they say on TV, “But WAIT! There’s MORE!!

I have only talked about using your Good Gifts from Above for the benefit of God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. Your gifts have as much value – and sometimes perhaps greater value – in the secular world, too. Your gifts can be blessings to anyone and everyone within or without the Body of Christ, the Church. And the cool thing is that we’ve already seen that the more you give, the more you receive. Jesus himself said “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you–and even more.” (Mark 4:24) So if you really heap it on in the church and then really heap it on outside the church as well, you’ve generated two heaps of return-on-investment. And here’s the amazing thing. When you really heap it on often enough it becomes your way of life, and you are no longer aware you’re really heaping it on; to you it’s just business as usual. Others will see what you are doing and say, “That’s a heap of heapin’ on! Where does s/he get all that?” And then it is your turn to say, “It comes from James 1:17!”

Do you know this guy? This is kind of what it’s like to be the giver. It is just such a KICK! And, Dearest Beloved, it goes on from now until Eternity.

THAT is what I mean by “what goes into good stewardship.” Good stewardship begins with recognizing that you are incredibly gifted – well, it would be incredible if none of us believed it happens all the time, but we know it does, so we believe we have extraordinary gifts directly from the Holy Spirit. And we believe they are given to us so that we can give them to each other. We have seen that if we give them as freely as we received them, the gifts never diminish, never grow stale, never lose their effectiveness as long as we keep passing them on, passing the forward, passing them into the lives of others. It is an exciting life to be a steward of God’s gifts! So here is what we should do.

Make a list of all the things you’re good at that you really love to do and that other people tell you they notice. Anything that makes all three of those criteria is a gift you are sharing. Then, continue the list with the things you’re good at and really love to do, but nobody ever notices you can do those things. Those are gifts you have been given but have not shared. Time to get busy heapin’ those gifts on everyone you can find! Then make a list of those things that you’re really good at, but don’t really enjoy all that much. Those are the gifts you stuck on the mantel or hid in the attic. Time to open them up, take them out for a spin, and make better use of them.

Now, when your church has its next ministry drive, you’ll be ready to go. You’ve got your list(s) in hand, you understand your gifts and what to do with them, and you are ready to start heapin’! Brothers and Sisters! Why wait that long? START NOW! It’s way more FUN to be dancing for joy than it is to be prancing for time to pass. Give later and you’ll feel better-off later. Give now, and you’ll feel fantastic right now! C’mon! Let’s get that list cranked out! The JOY of the LORD is waiting for you!!

 

HALLELUIAH!

And this late-breaking prayer request from MBN member, DG: My father-in-law Gene Gilpin is in the hospital not doing well.  He has two blood clots, one in his brain and one in his lung.  He is also bleeding internally where they just removed a cancerous tumor in his large intestines.  I am worried about his salvation. Please take a moment to pray for him for the next several days that he will know the Joy of Salvation.

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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