That's a question that has been on my mind lately...
Sometimes I wonder why people do what they do...when they say they want to "do" something, and they feel they have a "gifting", yet they are not willing to put any effort into it...Is it really a "gifting" then? How can they feel good about this, and reap the benefits of using their gifts to build up the body?
This is how i feel -
God gave me gifts - He doesn't want me to keep them to myself, He wants me to use them, and I do. I don't use them to build ME up, I use them to build others up. I cultivate my gifts, because i don't want to give God anything less than my best. One of my gifts is encouragement...I'm the eternal optimist. Give me the worst situation, guaranteed I will find something good somewhere in the mess. How do I get better and encouraging? Well, I put my nose in the bible...because how can I encourage people to have faith in God, if I can't back it up?...I also pray before I encourage someone - I ask the Lord to use me, to give me the right words to say...I never step out on my own.
I also have a talent and gift for music - how do I cultivate that? I practice, I seek out new music, I pray with the team I'm on, and we practice together on a regular basis. This way we can offer nothing less than our best to God...
I've been looking a lot in the bible for scripture, because people always say "You should do your best for God"...but where does it say that in the bible?? I would think you would want to do your best...after all, He's your heavenly father, and look at all He's done for you...but what if you have someone that really doesn't want to do their best? That just sorta wants to "get by"...How can you encourage them?
I know that scripture says God wants a sincere heart more than sacrifice - but can't we also or shouldn't we also be doing our best? I wouldn't want to offer God something half-baked. If I am going to give Him something, no matter how paltry, I want it to be the best that *I* can offer Him - it might not be perfect, but it will be the best I can do.
Why don't more people feel that way? I get so frustrated when I see people who say they want to serve God, yet only give him half an effort.
There is a passage in 2 Timothy that makes things a bit clearer...this one is from the "Message"...Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won't be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they're not backed by a godly life, they accumulate as poison in the soul. Hymenaeus and Philetus are examples, throwing believers off stride and missing the truth by a mile by saying the resurrection is over and done with. --- 2 Timothy 2:15-18
Then again, back in the Old Testament, when they sacrificed things to God, He didn't take anything that was less than perfect...so why should He take less than perfect now? Romans 12:1 says I beseech you therefore, brethern, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service.
If we are offering ourself to God as a living sacrifice, shouldn't it be the best? Yes, we are all human, and I know I am far from "perfect", but I can be the best sacrifice to God that I can be...Romans says your reasonable service - to me that doesn't mean half hearted effort - that means yeah, I am gonna do the best I can to serve God in the way He wants me to.