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Don’t Neglect Your Gift (1 Tim. 4:14-16)

WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – You are so gifted. God has placed particular portions of His richness in you: allotments of His personality, strengths, and  abilities. And He has carefully placed you in your family, among your friends, and in your world just where He wants your particular gifts to be used – just where they are needed.

“There are different gifts, but the same Spirit … A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good … One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills” (1 Cor. 12:4,7,11).

If you underestimate your capabilities or if you neglect them, much of the blessing God intends will be lost. And that is a real possibility. That’s why Paul reminded Timothy of his giftedness and warned him…

“Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders” (1 Tim. 4:14).

In the next two verses, the apostle gives Timothy and us three ways to avoid neglecting our gifts:

“Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim. 4:15-16).

Practice using what you’ve been given. Commit yourself to it. “Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others” (1 Pet. 4:10). Gifting provides the potential for blessing, but effective use of those gifts requires skill, and that is gained only through practice. Timothy’s primary gifting was teaching, so Paul told him “Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching” (1 Tim. 4:13). If he would practice, Paul promised that his progress would be evident.

Pay close attention to how you live and what you say. Ungodly living or unbiblical teaching can negate the greatest of giftings.

Persevere in serving others with God’s gifts, even when they are not adequately appreciated or when the results are not swift. “Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up” (Gal. 6:9).

WONDERFUL THING IN MY LIFE – Have you neglected your gifts? Just start using them. Begin with the smallest opportunities and the nearest people. Don’t wait for the large, the dramatic. Don’t wait for a position or a title. God gave these gifts to you so that He could give you to others. Let Him do so.

One more thing: If you’ve decided that your gifts have died or been rescinded for lack of use, stop thinking that way. Listen to Paul instead: “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you” (2 Tim. 1:6).

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