1 Corinthians 9:16-17
16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship.
Have you ever done something so spectacular that just the doing was the reward?
Necessity is that burden to leverage your gifts no matter what. Even if there is no visible reward, we just do it. Even when there is nothing promised, we just have to. The reason this action dripping with obligation is palatable is because what we are being led to do is fulfill our gift’s greatest purpose. When we love to do something, there is little need for apparent reward. Maybe this is the greatest indicator of a spiritual gift.
It’s so natural, we hardly notice the absence of payment.
Parents with young children feel this unique emotion every time they do something that goes without thanks. Sometimes just seeing them walk out the door with everything they need is enough- we don’t actually need them to say thanks for the lunch and the clean outfit. Just being their parent is enough. Most of the time.
Huge amounts of people agree that working on non-gifts will help us accomplish a great life. But that isn’t right at all. Actually, most of modern sociology agrees that no matter how many hours we spend on a non-gift, we will NEVER achieve the results of the same time spent honing our gifts.
The use of that actual gift is the stewardship the Apostle Paul says God has entrusted to us.
Here is the deal- we aren’t responsible for a gift God didn’t give us. So much is bombarding our lives begging for attention. The better we are at articulating our responsibilities to God and family and friends, the better we will be at living. Once that hierarchy has been pitched, we can simplify the noise. The time we spend on non-gifts depletes time we could spend on true gifts. That particular sacrifice shouldn’t be one any of us are willing to make.
Paul is so passionate about this idea, he says, “woe to me if I don’t”.
I remember sitting in a church service one day with some friends and what was supposed to be a reverent prayer meeting began to escalate. The musician and singer were doing pretty good, but the audience was moving beyond their energy. It wasn’t my home church but I did know the pastor and was pretty sure he would favor my involvement. So, I just walked up, sat behind the drums and released a gift. As soon as I did, we all went to a place of celebration together. Had my gift gone unused, I believe God would not be pleased with me. In other words- woe to me.
Your gift is equally as important as any other. As necessary as any other.
What gift has God entrusted to you? May necessity compel you to apply it.