What do you have in your hand? What are you doing with the gifts God has graciously anointed you with? Sometimes it’s hard to see the spiritual gifts God releases in your life. Most often it’s because we are seeking to operate in the gifts according to our plans; not God’s. However, we should seek God and ask him to guide us and shed off our selfish thought processes to allow his gifts to flow through us … from the inside out onto others.
1 Corinthians 12:7-11 NLT, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether the message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what’s being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.”
God blesses each of us with spiritual and natural gifts to build up His Kingdom. It is our responsibility to seek Him in pruning those gifts and sharing them with others. For the longest, I’ve known I had a gift to influence people. God has blessed me to grow in patience and listen to other people’s issues and give sound advice. It wasn’t until recently when I realized whom God was sending my way. He sent the sick in mind, body, and spirit. He sent those who were broken and undesirable to the human eye. He sent people I didn’t necessarily want to be bothered with because their demeanor and behavior was not up to my standard.
And then I realized … I was not living up to God’s standard because those people saw God in me and I failed to extend his grace unto them, as he had extended it to me.
1 Peter 4:10, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve others.”
We often try to justify our actions when we fail to respond to certain people because they don’t act like we do. I recently had an encounter with a young man who approached me with marijuana in hand and the “hey baby” line in tow. I immediately became annoyed and didn’t respond to him. He continued with his attempt to gain my attention and my respond wasn’t rude, but I didn’t give him what his Soul came for. I brushed him off as nothing and went about my day. I was aggravated with him having the audacity to approach me like he didn’t recognize me as a child of God. Problem is I didn’t recognize his need. I didn’t extend grace to him and tell him about the God I serve. I didn’t do my part as the child of God I claim to be. Yet, I still hadn’t learned my lesson. So like God, He’ll give you another test, and He did!
The next day after church I came across a man sitting with his legs crossed on the side of the road. He politely asked if he could have money to get something to eat. I thought I was doing something by giving a few dollars and a cold drink. A few minutes later, I realized he was not mentally stable. I’m not sure if he even really understood that he needed to exchange the money for food. Yes, I get that’s what he asked for. But his actions following our initial encounter made me think otherwise. He needed to be prayed for then given the food, not necessarily the money. I threw a couple dollars at the problem, but I didn’t help fix the problem. He still needed food to eat, physically and spiritually.
In both instances, I was responding to their flesh, when the opportunity to respond to the spirit was staring me in the face. No, I didn’t want the negative attention from the young man who approached me, but there was something in me he needed … Jesus. It never crossed my mind to minister to him because I was concerned about the negative association. I had it in my mind that I wouldn’t entertain any man who didn’t approach me in a respectable way. However, that encounter afforded me the opportunity share the Word with Him, I didn’t have to marry or date him.
1 Corinthians 13:3,”If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could not boast about it if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”
Unlike natural gifts you receive; you keep them for yourself, but you don’t receive God’s spiritual gifts to keep for yourself! You should constantly seek opportunities to give God’s greatest gift: Love.
Unfortunately, in our own selfishness we imagine we can help others on our terms: on a mission trips, or a church outreach, etc. But most times, when we are minding our own business God will interrupt our normalcy and provide opportunities for us to step out of our comfort zones to minister to those needing His love the most. It’s easy to go to a hospital to help the sick, it’s easy to visit the jail to minister to the inmates, it’s easy to visit a homeless shelter to feed the hungry, but what if they are not packaged in a building and they are waiting to meet you where you are? What happens when the drug dealer walks up to you or the ill-mannered young man approaches you? Do you turn them away or respond in a frustrated manner? They are comfortable offering what they have in their hand, are you? These are the times to extend grace and give the love we receive each time we read our Word. No, don’t put yourself in harm’s way, but seize the opportunities to be an example of Christ.
God, in his grace and mercy has placed His love in each of us, to share with others. Regardless of the gifts he’s given, we have a charge to spread the Gospel to ALL, in love. We have to learn to see past what’s being presented to us in the flesh and extend what God has placed in each of our hands to build his Kingdom and lead others to Christ!
So, what do you have in your hand?
Marquisha Harden is a Florida native seeking to encourage using her God given talents of listening, speaking, writing, and acting to lead others to Christ. She recently earned her Bachelor's degree in Criminal justice and welcomes the charge to learn to do right, seek justice, defend the oppressed, take up the cause for the fatherless, & plead for the case of the widow, as stated in Isaiah 1:17. She is eagerly learning to trust God in all things and welcomes the journey he has anointed her to take!