“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them.”
The photo above was taken in our garage, about half of which is devoted to my shop – which serves, among other things, as an expression of my very supportive and understanding wife! The tools there were chosen for woodworking. This is their purpose. And as I have become more familiar with them, and used them, my skill and capabilities have increased.
Jesus did not send His disciples into the world unequipped for the life into which He had called them. The Lord prepared His disciples for His departure by promising to send them the Holy Spirit. Left to themselves, the success of the mission was doomed from the start. Once the tools, the gifts of the Spirit, were in their hands, the fun really started. Nothing could stop them.
In his letter to the Romans Paul writes, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them.” The tools placed in our hands are the designs of God’s grace. Their purpose is to fashion a particular kind of living. Paul is reminding the Church that the Christian life is no abstraction. We are instruments of God’s work, dedicated to those things which shape life according to God’s good and gracious purposes.
Every so often I take inventory of my shop, replace what is needed and make sure my tools are working properly. I like to think of the Christian life in a similar way. Our inventory of tools, given in baptism, include, “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self control.” These are among the most important instruments of the Holy Spirit for which our life’s energies and resources have been given.
This is in no way to imply that salvation somehow depends on us, on what we do. We are utterly dependent on Christ. Salvation is His gift, apart from how well or badly we use His gifts. It is His work, after all, that is being done through us.
So, Christian, sharpen up those tools of the Spirit. Take hold of them. Have some fun! Put them to use with the reckless freedom and joyful daring that is yours in the One who equips you with every gift by the strength of His Spirit!
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”