Our Gifts, Our Value, Our Unique Place
“Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:28-32
When it comes to work most of us especially at the mature stages of life are motivated to work, first by our need to make enough money to pay or bills and then by the desire to have enough to enjoy life. Since most people live on credit, and if not on credit cards, they also carry mortgages, car payments and they have the need to set aside something for the expected/unexpected things that will happen, and still we can’t predict with certainty if we will have enough. The very frugal seem to be able to weather the storms better than the wasteful and so it is good to always have something set aside for the rough patches to come. But the admonition here is not about working for any of these reasons, but rather working to have something to give to those in need. That is the motivation God gives particularly to reverse the mindset of the one who justifies stealing because they want things for themselves.
But honest labor with our own hands applied to what is beneficial for the good of others and ourselves is the Godly means of gaining resources to share. Can you imagine a whole society of people working at the fullest measure of their talents, abilities and skills, just to take the profit gained from their enterprises and pass along some of it to those in need? Now this is not communism because there is no government mandate to take from the those who work to earn a living and give it to those who rule over them expecting them to dole out as they see fit the most meager provisions for the masses, while the ruling classes live in opulence and luxury.
NO! This is God’s way of demonstrating that each person has value and worth, that each one working to do their best is undergirded by the other, just as the body has many organs working together for the good of the whole, each part supplying what another needs. When that body is at its healthiest all parts are sufficiently supplied for their own unique functions and the surplus is passed along to strengthen another part.
Now, corrupt communication that robs us of life and peace must be avoided at all times. Rather we should employ in our conversations words of good that edify and build up one another in the grace of God; the essential exhortations that are beneficial to all who hear them.
What grieves the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is grieved when we act in ways contrary to our reborn spirit nature. When we don’t respond in love in order to be generous toward others with the same grace and mercy that we have received, when we judge unjustly and criticize unfairly, when we gossip and continue the spread of false testimony and false witness, when we hoard or our resources or count our gifts inadequate when compared to others, we show that we don’t appreciate the God given abilities that are uniquely vital to His purpose. To diminish their value in our own eyes is to adopt the attitude of Eve who allowed her self to be deceived by the serpent when he told her, God is holding out on you by not letting you become wise when you eat the forbidden fruit. The liar will always seek to steal your joy and diminish your value in your own eyes. Don’t let him get away with it. Resist him, and refuse to be moved by his accusations and lies.
The Holy Spirit is grieved when we think and fail to act because we think someone else’s gift is better than ours. So, instead of doing what good we can with the abilities and resources we have, we murmur and complain that God didn’t bless us enough to do any good. But the scriptures speak otherwise concerning every believer.
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3
Nor are we to think of ourselves less highly than we are. But in sobriety of consideration, understand that we all have the faith of God in us. And with that faith we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us.
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Acts 10:34-35
There are unique gifts and abilities that God has given to each one of us for the edification of the Body. Every gift is needed and essential to the good of the whole. When any one gift is withheld we are all the poorer because of it.
Therefore, never let the devil deceive you into thinking that you are anything less than a loved, highly valued, essential to the good of the whole body of Christ, blessed and cherished child of the living God.
Eradicate all these from your life once and for all and stand guard over your mouth and your thoughts to never let them enter in again; bitterness, wrath, anger without a righteous cause, clamor, (noisy, persistent demanding with loud shouting intended to intimidate or cause upheaval) rancor, evil speaking, and all malice:
Rather, let kindness and tenderheartedness be our aim, always maintaining a heart of forgiveness, knowing how much Christ has forgiven us.