“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.” [1 Corinthians 3:10]
The grace of God lifts you up and raises you to a place that is higher than where you are today. In this context, grace expresses itself as a special gifting that God blesses us with to take the right kind of efforts. When God gives a promise, He also gives you a procedure by which it may be actualized.
‘I have given Jericho into your hands’ was the Lord’s promise to Joshua. But for it to come to pass, He also clearly specified the procedure that Joshua had to follow, improbable though it appeared to be.
Talking about his own efforts, the apostle Paul declares that by the grace of God given to him, he has laid the foundation like a skilled master builder. He did not say: 1. According to my ability, or 2. According to what I already know, or 3. According to what I have in my hand, or, 4. According to the present trend of the world. Rather it is by the grace given to him, he declares. And it is given not just to Paul, but to each and every child of God.
According to the Grace:
Grace expresses itself in you as an enabling, an empowering, a special endowment given by God to perform a special task. And it is by this grace that you are called to attempt great things for His glory. This grace can also be termed as ‘talent’ or a special gifting. You are uniquely gifted by God.
According to the Anointing:
The Lord Jesus in the synagogue, stood up to read from the scriptures, and proclaimed, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has anointed me to preach good news.” [Luke 4:18]
From this declaration, we see that grace is the anointing of the Spirit upon you, a divine empowerment to accomplish godly things. Anointing is much more than a physical manifestation. It is a divine enabling, when you are clothed with power from above. Your labor in the Lord flows easily and lightly when it springs from this enabling grace.
“And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” [Acts 10:38] “Doing good,” is doing the will of God in your life. And the anointing gives you the power to do the will of God. (And you shall receive power when the Spirit of God comes upon you. [Acts 1:8])
According to the Opportunity:
When the Spirit of the Lord anoints you, He will also give you a gifting that is unique and specifically in line with God’s calling for you. To exercise the gifting, He will also give you the opportunity.
“What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.” [I Corinthians 3:5]
Receiving a special gifting from God makes you special. However you have to recognize your gifting and operate on it. When you attempt to do things without identifying your skill, it will kill!
Varied Grace and Gifting:
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” [1 Peter 4:10]
In the kingdom of God each person is uniquely and differently talented. So there are two things:
– God’s grace is full of variety
– Each one has received a gift
God provides different and a variety of grace-enabled talents / skills to each one of us. Some examples from the Bible:
Noah was a preacher of righteousness. But his unique endowment and gifting was to build something that no one had ever seen or heard of! It was the ark. In faith and in reverent response to God’s instruction, Noah constructed the ark. Though he was ridiculed by those around, Noah faithfully preached about the great rain that was to come. In the end, he was not put to shame and he and his family were saved from perishing in the floods.
When you receive God’s grace and favour upon your life in obedience and faith, you will certainly not drown but be lifted up higher than you can imagine.
The diverse gifting of God includes the ability to efficiently and effectively administrate, or be a good manager.
In the life of Joseph, this gifting saw him rise up from being a lowly servant in Potiphar’s household to becoming its Manager. When he was falsely accused and imprisoned, it only turned into an opportunity for him to become the Manager of the prison — all because God was with him through it all. Ultimately, his gifting led him to become the Prime Minister of Egypt, with the Pharaoh himself testifying, “Surely the Spirit of God is residing in him” [Genesis 39-41]
Joseph did not wait to be lifted up in order to do well. Even in your life, your designation does not matter. Doing well in whatever position that you are in, with His anointing upon you, will see you rise higher and shine for His glory.
The young shepherd boy was blessed with many talents and rose to become the king of Israel. He tended the sheep, and had the ability to fight and overpower the lion and the bear. He wrote songs of praise unto God, amidst the calamities of his life. His skilful playing of the harp was powerful and anointed by God that it drove out the evil spirit distressing Saul.
The son of David was blessed with wisdom from God, and gifted with many talents. Above all, he was given the great opportunity to construct the temple of God, which was an architectural marvel. He also wrote down pearls of wisdom by the Spirit’s anointing – the proverbs that give us wise counsel even today.
Luke was a well-loved doctor and also a document writer. The gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are his meticulously penned narratives which served as documents of proof when Apostle Paul stood on trial before Caesar, and also recorded Jesus’ doing, His death and resurrection.
If you can put forth the Word of God in its beauty, write inspired words to bring clarity, comfort and cheer in the hearts of people, you are anointed indeed.
He was a tax collector, whom Jesus called to be His disciple. Matthew was gifted with mathematical skills and he was a good accountant.
When called by the Lord, Peter was just a fisherman. But when the anointing came upon him, he was transformed to become a fisher of men, and laid the foundation of the Christian church on the day of Pentecost.
In modern day terms, Lydia was a business woman and designer. She was a seller of purple, and was skilful in her business. Buying and selling, or running a business successfully, can also be the gifting, the ability that God has endowed upon you.
Paul had an inspired intellect. He was able to completely understand his calling and manifest that through his acts.
The Procedure – How to employ your Gifting:
“Whoever speaks as one who speaks oracles of God, whoever serves as one who serves by the strength that God supplies, in order that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” [1Peter 4:11]
Use God-given talents in right measure:
Don’t overdo things. We need to be stable and not go overboard and try to prove a point. For ultimately, only the Lord’s name is to be glorified through us, using the skills he endowed us with.
Use God-given skills according to the strength that God gives:
Are you doing things to glorify God or yourself? Jesus did not heal the crippled beggar who sat by the temple gate. It was Peter and John who had to do it. It wasn’t that Jesus could not perform the miracle, but it was not for him to do.
To perform god-given abilities, God gives grace and also strength. The ultimate aim is to glorify God. Only you can do certain things in the perfect way as you have a special endowment. Grace has been given not only for us to be blessed, but to bless others by using it for His glory.