Everyone enjoys receiving gifts, especially from people we love, may it be on a birthday or any other special occasion. But more important than the gift itself is the person who took the time and effort to prepare and give it. And thoughtfulness is what makes it more special and memorable.
In this episode, Pastor Ted Wilson and his wife, Nancy, talk about the spiritual gifts and ministries based on the seventeenth fundamental belief of the Seventh-day Adventists.
Matthew 25 tells the parable of the talents wherein a man entrusted his workers with valuable gifts or talents.
"For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey" (verses 14 and 15).
Continuing in verses 16 to 18, "then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise, he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground and hid his lord's money."
When the owner returned, he commended those who used their talents wisely, telling each of them, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord" (verse 21).
Meanwhile, the one who didn’t use his talent and buried it in the ground blamed the owner for giving him such, saying, "I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed!"
These workers were not asked to do their work without resources or, in other words, to “make bricks without straw.” They were given the things they needed. If used wisely, they would be richly rewarded.
God gives each of us gifts and talents to use for Him and reach others. There is no greater joy than seeing someone respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as He works through us.
As our seventeenth fundamental belief states, "God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts that each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity.”
It continues, “Given by the agency of the Holy Spirit, Who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts provide all abilities and ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained functions. According to the Scriptures, these gifts include such ministries as faith, healing, prophecy, proclamation, teaching, administration, reconciliation, compassion, and self-sacrificing service and charity for the help and encouragement of people.”
It goes on, saying, “Some members are called of God and endowed by the Spirit for functions recognized by the church in pastoral, evangelistic, and teaching ministries particularly needed to equip the members for service, to build up the church to spiritual maturity, and to foster unity of the faith and knowledge of God.”
Lastly, "when members employ these spiritual gifts as faithful stewards of God’s varied grace, the church is protected from the destructive influence of false doctrine, grows with a growth that is from God, and is built up in faith and love."
In connection to this, Ellen White reminds us in Christ’s Object Lessons, "The talents that Christ entrusts to His church represent especially the gifts and blessings imparted by the Holy Spirit" (page 327). "The special gifts of the Spirit are not the only talents represented in the parable. It includes all gifts and endowments, whether original or acquired, natural or spiritual. All are to be employed in Christ's service" (page 328).
But God doesn’t ask us to do something without giving us the power to do it. On page 333 of the same book, Ellen White says, "As the will of man cooperates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent. Whatever is to be done at His command may be accomplished in His strength. All His biddings are enablings."