We are all created and gifted by God. These gifts have to be discovered, developed, and put into action to make the world a better place. From those who are still struggling to determine what we want to do “when we grow up” to those who have started profitable businesses or led in influential industries, each of us has something important to contribute towards God’s purposes. We can all be successful in the eyes of God as we are faithful with what we’ve been given. When we take our passions, expertise, and experiences, add in our training and knowledge, and mix it together with our church community, we have the ingredients we need to make our city an even more beautiful place to be.
Work through the following questions and scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
A Gifted Community Next Steps
Gateway South Austin Inspire Service:
Message Notes from Carlos Ortiz:
We’ve heard of different stories of redemption, and stories of diverse religious backgrounds, next week we’ll talk to the diverse ethnicities represented at Gateway.
This being our 3rd week, we are looking at how God gave gifts to his people.
You are created no purpose and for a purpose.
Today we wanted to truly highlight some of the amazing people on our campuses, and in our online community. Our diversity of gifts and talents are what make our community so special.
I could stand up here for hours and go over thousands of names of people who call Gateway home.
- All of you are talented and gifted in your own right.
- Many of you are frontline workers, teachers, and in the service industry.
- Many of us are highly educated and have worked hard in our careers.
- Many of us have had to switch careers, or have lost jobs during the pandemic.
- Many of you identify with striving towards success, and then there are some of us who are just glad to be alive and that is the win.
“I told her once I wasn’t good at anything. She told me survival is a talent.”Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
The truth of the matter is that being gifted and talented, or successful, is not tied to what our culture says about success or talent.
We believe a lie that success is a destination we arrive at, when instead we never really do arrive, do we?
“The Road to Success is always under construction.” – Lily Tomlin
Some of us have found a measure of success, and others of us have found success elusive. But none of us can actually say we’ve had an easy road. Life is challenging, is full of hardships, and even when things on the outside may seem to go well, we have a faith walk that challenges us to continually grow and be more like Jesus.
So our challenge for today is not to simply acknowledge all that God has done here at Gateway, and the individual people who make up our community. Our challenge is to understand that we are all supposed to work together not in spite of our differences, but because of our differences. This was God’s plan all along!
Ephesians 4:1-8; 11-16
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all,who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”
11 So Christ himself gave them apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
I love passages like that help us link steps together. There’s a beautiful progression in this passage as it speaks to gifts and talents, purpose and service, meaning and love, maturity and character, humility and harmony. So let’s follow the progression
God gives gifts
Verse 10-11 “God…gave gifts to his people.”
11 So Christ himself gave them apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,
If we’re not careful we can see the people being highlighted, or the person on public display, and think less of ourselves.
Yesterday working with Austin Angels, helping kids who have been in foster families or group homes understand their Strengths.
- We can discount what God has truly gifted each of us to do.
- Maybe we don’t even know what to do, or where to go to grow, and luckily for you, we can help you figure it out.
- We have Advance class starting soon to help you discover how God has wired you and then what to do with that gift. Register at gatewaychurch.com/thrive
Equip people to serve
12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
- 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 – about the body and diverse gifts working together
So God equips us, not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of others. Maybe that is why we struggle with serving, because it inherently communicates to others, I’m here for you. It’s a sign of humility and saying I’m holding you in high esteem over my own comfort.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Serve until we mature
13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Verse 13 says we serve until we mature, which means for most of us we will need to serve until the day we die. The maturation process in God’s family has nothing to do with age, it has nothing to do with the number of years you have put into your faith journey or even Gateway. The maturation process is about disposition, how we approach people, how we love them, how we give up our status for theirs.
Stop being a baby
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
This scripture is basically saying that those of us who are unable to make clear decisions. Those of us who are affected by every new news cycle. Those of us who get derailed by a bad phone call, a bad work day, or something not going our way…yes, those of us are being infants…we’re babies. Maturity comes when we see the waves coming, they hit us, and we keep our eyes on the real prize.
Grow into being the body of Christ
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
This is a gentle reminder that we are the body, and not the head. We grow into maturity by serving, making a difference, and understanding the Jesus is our standard, he’s the head of this body.
No shame in being where you are. But it would be a shame to not acknowledge the truth of where you are. Some of us are truly thriving and finding purpose, some of us are truly struggling with mental health and issues the pandemic either magnified or brought to our attention for the first time, and then there’s the majority of us…we’re in the in-between.
Many of us are in the in-between: According to this NY Times article “There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing. The neglected middle child of mental health can dull your motivation and focus – and it may be the dominant emotion of 2021.
When we are fully mature, and aligned with Jesus as the head of our “body” we walk in unity, we grow stronger, we love deeper, because it’s his thoughts his ways that lead us.
Jesus is the head of the body
16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love.
Get to work
Verse 16 “as each part does its work.“
Luke 12:42-48 to whom much is given, much is required
For many of us who are wrestling with our faith, we try to strike a balance of receiving grace alone, and a life of works and action. The truth is that as you walk closer with Jesus, and those of us who have decided to follow Jesus, we are called to do both.
The work of Jesus is free, his death on a cross for my sin and shame and your sin and shame, is already done and complete. Walking out our relationship with God is meant to be done in community, and what do you bring to your community? I bring hangups and sinful patterns, but I also have the gift of God in me, how can I help others as I am being healed myself?
Each person we highlighted today wasn’t someone who has arrived, or who is up for sainthood, no each person is exercising their gift, and yet are still called to make a difference in others outside of their profession! Some of them work the parking lot, some open doors, some work with kids, or serve in our community pantry, or sing on stage.
My questions for us today are:
What has God gifted me with?
How am I using that gift?
Have I received the true gift of freedom in Jesus?