What Do My Loaves and Fishes Look Like?

December 13, 2012

Several days ago I made a few observations about the feeding the 5,000 passage in Matthew. That passage reminds us that the Lord takes our resources (loaves and fishes) and uses our gifts to meet the needs of others. Sometimes we might wonder whether or not we have gifts that God might use. Other times, we might be puzzled over what our gifts might actually be.

To this I would say that all believers are gifted by God. Additionally, the gifts we have are to be used to serve others. 1Cor 12:7 makes both these points: “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” The NLT captures the thought well translating the verse, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” So, dear brother or sister, God has gifted you to serve others in the body of Christ. Implied in this verse is the idea that we are going to interface with our church family. Without laboring to scripturally make the point, the Bible is clear that we are to gather with our church family.

So what is your gift? I think we make this trickier than is needed. There aren’t any passages that tell us to track down our spiritual gift. I know I might be swimming up stream on this one, but I just don’t see a call to ascertain what our gift is. Granted, there are lists in scripture that give us a sense of what giftedness looks like. These lists broadly help us understand what our service (loaves and fishes) looks like.

How does the use of gifts come about? God has given you interests, abilities, and opportunities. Rather than trying to hunt down our gifts, I think it is best to look for the intersection of these things. If I had the interest and ability to teach adults and if the church I attend were looking for a teacher, I might think that this is a door the Lord would want me to walk through. If I have fairly abundant financial resources and a sister was in financial need, I would think that this would be an opportunity to serve.

I realize that sometimes service is required that is outside our interests, inclinations, and abilities. We might have to help fix a flat even if we don’t think we can get the lug nuts off. But, if we have loaves and fishes and people are hungry, it is probably time to share.


2 Responses to “What Do My Loaves and Fishes Look Like?”

  1. Marie Smith Says:

    You said in very eloquent terms one of my thoughts, Mark. I’ve seen churches “waste” time on “studies” for individuals to find their gifting. To me the answer was always simple – serve, serve and serve. It is scary how we sinners can take anything and turn the focus onto self.

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