Thursday, November 27, 2008

God's Gifting and Calling

'Everyone should spend time with God. But it should be in the manner God has appointed them'. Would you please expand on this point, with scripture. Also, what way do you think has been appointed to me? -Gordon

In general, the different kinds of connecting with God or serving God is found in Romans 12. This is where Paul says that everyone has something to do with God, a God-given function (one of which is prayer, btw), but no one has the same function, and no one should look down on another because they have a different function.

There are two types of appointments with God: calling and gifting.

Gifting is the ability or abilities that we have received from God. Not necessarily the abilities we were born with-- although they can include that. But that which is especially given after we become a believer and are truly following God. Paul talks a lot about gifting, especially in I Corinthians 12. We know what gifting we have because God has granted us an ability to do something and we do it well. We are often drawn to do this thing because we know we do it well and we are praised for it. I am gifted in Bible teaching. I may do nothing else in my ministry well, but I know I do this well. I'm not certain what your gifting is. It is good to know, though.

Calling is that which God specifically directs us to do, whether we have the ability to do it or not. We have an example of this in Acts 13 1-3. Paul and Barnabas were specificall called out by the Holy Spirit in community to a particular task. They didn't do that task in the same way. And it might be said that Paul was more gifted to the task than Barnabas. But that's not the point. Sometimes God calls us to do something we are not particularly talented in. Or only marginally talented in. But we do the task because God calls us, not because we are good at it.

Sometimes we are called to do something long term, and sometimes short term. A person might be called to do a particular ministry only for a year, and then they are called to do something else. Or a person might be called to a lifetime project, like Mother Teresa. But the calling is just as much God's appointement as a gifting. I am called to do Anawim.

You, my friend, are called to service and prayer. It doesn't matter how WELL you do the service and prayer, how talented you are at it. Rather, you are doing it as an obedience to the most high God. You keep at it, not because you are particularly gifted, but because it is what you are called to do. It is God's appointment for you.

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