I believe that God gives us all a variety of gifts, talents, and abilities, Romans 12:4-8. How we use these gifts is entirely up to us, but I'm convinced that God wants us to use our gifts in His service. Actually, if I read the words of Jesus correctly, to neglect to utilize our talents in the Master's service can and will be catastrophic, Matthew 25:14-30.
I have a number of gifts. I can a actually sing pretty good in the shower when nobody is listening, (but I can't lead singing). I'm a good general in computer strategy games and can often beat my computer opponent. I make the best Lasagna you will ever put in your mouth, (or so I've been told). I can marinade and grill a melt-in-your-mouth Ribeye steak that will make you go to bed with a smile on your face. These are a few of the gifts I possess. I'm sure you have your list of gifts as well. We all have numerous gifts.
My greatest gift is the ability to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way saying I am the greatest preacher. On the contrary, there are so many that can preach far better than I could ever hope to, but God has gifted me with the desire to preach and the opportunity to learn from some of the most gifted preachers and teachers of the Restoration Movement. Having attended Harding School of Biblical Studies in Searcy Arkansas in the early 1980's, I was privileged to sit at the feet of men like Dr. Jimmy Allen, Avon Malone, L.V. Pfeifer, Paul Pollard, Eddie Cloer, Joe Jones, Ed Sanders, Dr. Neale Pryor, Tom Eddins, and many more. These great preachers and teachers of Scripture imparted an understanding of simple undenominational first century Christianity that I would have never known otherwise.
So, from heaven's point of view, my greatest gift is the desire and ability to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Like Paul, I must say,
"For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" I Corinthians 9:16.
Regretfully, many and most people in the states do not really want to hear the Scriptures proclaimed boldly and with authority anymore. I recently posted a less than ten minute video of Francis Chan speaking about the danger of lukewarmness on my Facebook page. It was entitled "Lukewarm and Loving it." I posted a picture of my dog and me with a quote and got over 40 "likes." The ten minute message about the dangers of lukewarmness from a great dedicated preacher who few can match in homiletics... GOT ONE "LIKE!"
I know that not all my friends saw the post because I have lots of preacher friends who would have watched if they saw the post just to steal good material... LOL. (Just kidding my preacher friends).
WHY DID THAT TEN MINUTE SERMON ABOUT LUKEWARMNESS GET SUCH A PITIFUL RESPONSE?
Maybe it's because it was "Ten Minutes?" We're too busy to stop and listen to a message from God.
Maybe it was the title, "Lukewarm and loving it" and we don't want to think about the possibility that we are lukewarm.
Maybe nobody was on Facebook the next day?
Maybe... just maybe... most people think preaching is a thing of the past... it's archaic... it's judgmental, it's not important. (A picture of his dog with a quote... that's important)!
I'm not sure what the answer is, but it could be that even Christians think "Preaching" is foolishness.
"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." I Corinthians 1:18.
Maybe it's because the time has finally come...
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. II Timothy 4:1-4 NKJV.
My first gift is preaching and teaching the Gospel of Christ... thank you for sending me to preach!
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" Romans 10:14-15.
What's your gift? What's your talent?
ARE YOU USING IT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
USE IT... EVEN IF THE WORLD THINKS IT'S FOOLISHNESS!