By Brent Coltharp
“It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). As a child at Christmas, it is difficult to comprehend the possibility that there is anything better than receiving a gift. However, as a father of four, I have discovered that there is nothing like witnessing the excitement and joy in the life of your child as they receive. As disciples, we realize that life is a gift, that we are created in the image of God, and that we have the ability to bring great joy and glory to the Father through the receiving, cherishing, and properly managing this gift (Genesis 1:26-27).
King David demonstrated an awareness of being created with purpose. David refers to God forming him, understanding that he was fearfully and wonderfully made, skillfully wrought while in his mother’s womb (Psalms 139:13-17). Similarly, the Lord informed Jeremiah that before he was formed in his mother’s womb, he was set apart, ordained to be a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). These passages, along with numerous others, reveal that God is an intentional designer and that we are all created with purpose.
Building on the foundation of our understanding of the creator God of Genesis, when we begin to learn about the Church, the body of Christ (Colossians 1:24), we should expect to witness some of the same commonalities. Paul describes the church as being intentionally designed, fearfully and wonderfully made, and skillfully wrought, when he states that the body has many members, with different functions (Romans 12:4-8). He further teaches that the individual members of the body of Christ have different gifts as God has sovereignly chosen to bestow them. Paul exhorts us to use these gifts diligently and liberally, fulfilling our function in the body to the best of our ability.
Peter adds to the discussion, instructing us to use the gift that we have received, ministering to one another as a good steward (1 Peter 4:8-11). Stewardship signifies that the gift is not ours; rather, we have been entrusted with it and eventually we will have to give an account to the Lord of our management of those things that He has placed in our hands. While there is often emphasis on the famed nine gifts of the Spirit that Paul references in his letter to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 12), we must understand that each one has received a gift from God that is to be used in the body according to our divine placement and assigned function.
Eventually, we come full circle, accepting that we are designed, created, placed and gifted for purpose. The purpose of our creation and of spiritual gifts are where God will receive glory (1 Peter 4:11). Let us be reminded, if we know how to give good gifts, how much more will our Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:13), for every good and perfect gift comes from above. (James 1:17)