Focus On the Giver Before the Gifts

Well, I got past the first few words of Romans 1:1 (see yesterday's post) but not far. These days I'm juggling more balls than is sometimes comfortable and one of those "balls" is a workshop I'm preparing on spiritual gifts. I collected all kinds of resources on the subject—and there are lots out there—including a little book by Henry and Mel Blackaby called: What's So Spiritual About Your Gifts? Sometimes the balls I am trying to juggle get in each other's way and such was the case yesterday as I moved passed Paul's reference to himself as a servant of Jesus Christ.

Here's the verse again: "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—" Romans 1:1, NIV.

The Blackabys' book has an unusual perspective (unfortunately) on spiritual gifts. I say "unfortunately" not because I believe they are wrong, but because that perspective is unusual in our "me" society where believers are seeking their gifts, but often trying to bypass the Giver. I'd recommend you read the book.

Basically, the Blackabys say that our focus needs to be on our relationship with the Giver, otherwise whatever "gifts" we think we have are only talents that are powerless to make eternal changes in lives. Total submission to God and walking in the Spirit in obedience and faith, is the first step to realizing the power of God through the gifts that he gives us. That was the part that produced an "ah-ha" moment as I read Romans 1:1.

Paul hadn't read Henry and Mel's book, but the order of the phrases in this first verse in Romans suggests that he understood the concept very well. He submitted himself to God as a servant, or slave, of Jesus Christ. That was followed by the call and the gifting to be an apostle and a missionary. The depth of his commitment, his servanthood, meant that he had available to him all the power of God behind the gospel with which to carry out the mission assigned to him.

The lesson was an important one for me as I prepare for this workshop. We will start with the importance of our relationship to the Giver. Spiritual gifts, so often all about the "me" in us, then take their rightful place as secondary to the fostering of that intimate communion we have with the Giver.


  1. Ooooh - good reminder. The giver HAS to be above the gift. Thank you, Lynda


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