August 29

Encouragement for Today

 

“Why Not Her?”

Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor, P31 Woman Magazine

 

Key Verse:

 

I Corinthians 12:24-25, “… But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

 

Do you ever wish more people were like you?  Be honest.  Have you ever wondered why no one seems to work as hard as you do, or gives as much to charity, or remembers birthdays like you do?  Isn’t everyone supposed to do what you do?  Actually … no.

 

God designed us delightfully different.  Scripture tells us that in addition to being uniquely created, we are each given different spiritual “gifts” through the Holy Spirit.  These gifts take the form of special abilities, such as healing, prophesying, teaching and administration, to name a few.  (See 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 for more examples.)

 

Normally, when we receive a gift, it is for us to use and enjoy.  But spiritual gifts are given to benefit others.   First Corinthians 12:7 tells us, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”  In essence, we are to give away these gifts from God.

 

What wonderful things spiritual gifts are – until our sinful nature gets in the way.  Two negative things can happen regarding spiritual gifts: 1) We want the gift that others have, or 2) We expect others to have our gifts, and do what we do.   When they don’t, we get annoyed.  Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life, calls this “gift projection.”  Gift projection can be the source of much unhappiness and division between friends.

 

For example, let’s say your gift is hospitality.  You invite a friend to your home for lunch and you go the extra mile to clean your house, make something special for her to eat, and buy fresh flowers.  You spend hours preparing for her visit and you have a wonderful time.   At the end of the lunch, she reciprocates and invites you to her house.

 

When you go to her house, you get a store-bought cookie, a can of soda, and she hastily stacks the newspapers on the floor so you can sit on the couch.  Not exactly the reception you were expecting after all the work you did.  But as you sit down to talk, it’s obvious you are her top priority.  Her gift of mercy overflows as she listens to your problems and responds with wisdom and compassion.

 

What’s your reaction?

 

As we consider our spiritual gifts and those of our friends, we should cultivate a heart of appreciation for the differences.  God designed those differences so all the needs of His believers would be met.  Guard against resentment forming in your heart, and thank God that He gave your friend a different spiritual gift – one designed to benefit YOU.

 

My Prayer for Today:

 

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us spiritual gifts.  I thank You that You care for my needs and have gifted someone else to help me.   Help me to look at others differently and appreciate their unique spiritual gifts.   Please forgive me when I have been envious or resentful about my spiritual gift or others’.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

 

Application Steps:

 

Identify a spiritual gift you have.  Identify a friend with a gift that seems opposite of yours.  Commit to praying for your friend and the development of her spiritual gift.

 

Reflection Points:

 

1. Read 1 Corinthians, chapter 12.

 

2. Even though we have different spiritual gifts, what do they all have in common?

 

3. Why would God give us different spiritual gifts?

 

1 Corinthians 12 is a lead-in to the most famous chapter on love.  Powerful and spectacular as spiritual gifts are, why are they worthless without love?

 

4. Why is it easy to fall into the trap of serving others and exercising our spiritual gifts without a heart of love?

 

5. How can you affirm a friend’s spiritual gift that is different from yours?

 

Power Verses:

 

I Corinthians 12:12, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.  So it is with Christ.”  (NIV)

 

Matthew 7:11, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  (NIV)

 

Roman 12:4b-6a, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” (NIV)

 

2 Corinthians 9:8-9, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: ‘He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’” (NIV)

 

Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

 

Getting Along with Almost Anybody, by Florence & Marita Littauer

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_gettingAlong.htm

 

Message of the Month Club by Proverbs 31 Ministries

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/resourceMessage.htm

 

P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/woman.htm