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Brief thoughts: Gifting’s extremes

 “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Cor. 12:7-8)

“To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability…” (Matt. 25:15)

There are two truths that can be draw from these verses discussing how God gifts every one of His people. They represent opposite extremes when, as with many biblical questions, wisdom lays in balancing extremes. The first is the measure to which He gifts us, and how He doesn’t expect us to do beyond what He has gifted us for. Wouldn’t God defeat the whole purpose of gifting if He expected us to perform over and above that gifting? Wouldn’t that encourage us to, “Be foolish, having taken what was begun by the Spirit and then perfecting it in the flesh” (Gal. 3:3)? He blesses us and people around us through what He is doing in our lives, and it is always a temptation to want to make the blessing even bigger. But we must resist because getting out in front of God always results in pride, and “pride goes before destruction” (Prov. 16:18).

On the other hand, what God does gift us with gracefully He expects us to “walk-in” (Phil. 2:10) fully. The parable of the talents above does not end well for the third servant who hid his talent in the ground. His Master made it clear He didn’t expect much, knowing the servant had not received much to begin with. All he had to do was put the talent in the bank. Jesus said that branches once attached to Him would be gathered and burned if they did not bear fruit. In Proverbs 6, Solomon warns of dire consequences for being a “sluggard.” And so, we can over-perform in the flesh and go on to destruction, or fail to “present bodies as living sacrifices” and likewise go on to destruction. We are to put God’s gifts to full use, but remember “apart from them we can do nothing” and be  satisfied with that.

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