Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 Timothy 4:14-16 (ESV)
Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.  Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
One of the more difficult things to watch as a pastor is how some of the most gifted and talented Christians make no effort to use what God has given them to edify and build up the body of Christ. For years, they come to church, week in and week out, only consuming and enjoying the services of others. Their gifts and talents are often reserved for the weekdays, when these people are at work, building their career and making a living for themselves.
Paul directs Timothy not to neglect his spiritual gift. “Neglect” refers to when people do not give fitting attention to their gifts. And when we fail to appropriate our gifts for the body of Christ, we fail to use our talents and gifts for their ultimate purpose, which is to build up the body of Christ; when we don’t use our gifts, the body of Christ suffers—fewer ministries take place and less people are blessed in the church. Paul is addressing Timothy as a pastor, but the principle applies to all Christians and any of the ministry gifts they operate with.
So let’s ask the question, “How are you doing in recognizing and using your spiritual gift(s) to build up the body of Christ?” Are you laboring as hard in your church as you are for your career or school? Do you have the same ambition to excel in using your God-given skills to help and encourage the church?
Prayer: Lord, I want to use the gifts and abilities you have given me to help build your church. The church is the answer to the problems of the world. Help me to build into that which will last for eternity.
Bible Reading for Today: 2 Samuel 14
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-12: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;  and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;  and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,  to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
Questions to Consider
- In this passage, Paul tells the Corinthians that there is “One” and “many”. What does he mean by these terms?
- What makes these various abilities gifts?
- What is your spiritual gift? Could you honestly say that you are using your spiritual gift to build up the body of Christ?
- The One is the Spirit, while the many or diverse is the gifts. This shows us how the Spirit of God gives varied gifts to His church.
- Because they are apportioned by the Spirit of God as He wills.
- Perhaps it’s teaching, perhaps it’s serving. If you are not using your gifts to build up the body of Christ, your talents and abilities are not being used fully as God intended when He gave them to you.
As you come to the end of another day, consider how you have helped strengthen the Church that Jesus died for. Think of one way you intend to use your abilities and gifts to build up the body of Christ.