Our theme for this month: “Life on this side of the cross”
Our Bible verse for today: “A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:7 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “You have been called by God into a life of service.”
One of the great distinctives of life on this side of the cross is found in the level of participation and involvement a person is called to in the ongoing work of God in the world.
In the Old Testament certain special people were called and equipped to be priests or scribes or to perform some other function in the temple. However for the average person the expectation was simply for them to obey the rules, participate in the rituals, and live according to Biblical principles. That was it. But in the New Testament there’s more to it. In the New Testament every individual is called to be on-mission with God in the world (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). Also, every person has been given the Holy Spirit to live within them, equipping and empowering them for acts of ministry (that’s what Jesus meant when He said in Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you …).
There’s an entire body of New Testament literature which teaches that the Holy Spirit provides, brings out, and develops particular gifts, skills, and abilities in each individual Christian which are then to be utilized to help in God’s kingdom-building work (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-10; 1 Corinthians 12:28-30; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 4:11). There’s a wonderful tool available through the Southern Baptist Convention known as a “Ministry Gifts Inventory” which helps individuals to identify the ways in which the Spirit has equipped them to serve in the mission of God. Those acts of service and participation extend from being a preacher or teacher, to being an usher or greeter, to acts of compassion and hospitality, to caring for the church facilities, and much more. The point is that in the New Testament Age our level of participation in the work of God on earth is to be much greater than it was in the Old Testament Age.
Every summer at Oak Hill Baptist we ask each member to prayerfully consider how he or she will serve in the church in the upcoming church year (which begins in September). We do that because exercising your skills, gifts, and abilities for the sake of others is an important part of the practice of our faith in this New Testament Age. God has chosen to accomplish much of His work among His people, and in the world, through the active participation of each individual member.
I encourage you to prayerfully consider how the Spirit of God has called and equipped you to serve. If you aren’t sure, then please get your own copy of “The Ministry Gifts Inventory” from www.lifeway.com.