3

Using the Gifts God Has Given You, Part 2

Please read part one of this article here:  Using the Gifts God Has Given You.

 

If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.  (Matthew 7:11)

I remind you to stir [fan] into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6)

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22)

The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. (Isaiah 11:1-3)

I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.  (John 17:20-21)

I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.  (John 13:34-35)

The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful. (James 5:16)

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

In the previous article, we described the ways we can “fan into flame those gifts that God has given us” (2 Timothy 1:6). We also discussed some of the negative things we can do put out the fire or “quench” the work of the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) in our lives. The article also referenced several Scriptures that listed the many types of spiritual gifts that are available to us as Christians (Isaiah 11:1-3, Romans 12:4-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). In this article, we will focus on a few of these gifts, and how to use them to build the Kingdom of God and bring him glory.

The starting point for us is to remember that our heavenly Father, the Lord and giver of life, delights in showering his children with gifts (Matthew 7:11). He is so generous that every day he actively looks for ways to bless us.

What kinds of gifts does our Father want to give us? The first, and best, is a closer relationship with him. It’s a relationship where we experience his love more deeply, and trust in his pres­ence more fully. He also wants to give us wisdom for our lives (Isaiah 11:2). Through his word, through his people, and through his Spirit, he wants to guide us in our decision making so that we learn how to act with justice, humility, and compassion in all our dealings.

Another gift the Lord loves to give us is the gift of community – to be one as he and his Father are one (John 17:21). As we get closer to our Father, he introduces us to more and more of his children— our brothers and sisters in Christ. He gives us to each other so that we can love and encour­age one another as he loves us (John 13:34-35). He wants us to experience his love through each other, and to bear one another’s burdens. As Christians, none of us are called to journey alone through life.

Still another gift is the gift of prayer. Like a waterfall, God’s blessings and grace flow over us whenever we set aside time to come into his presence in private prayer (James 5:16). He wants also to give us the gift of generosity, not just in terms of our almsgiving, but also in giving generously of our time and talents (these are gifts from God) to serve others.

Over time, these gifts change our hearts. Instead of walking timidly through the day hoping nothing bad happens, we will find ourselves walking in confidence and joy, with boldness and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). We will find ourselves more convinced that God is with us, always ready to give us all the gifts and graces we need to live a life pleasing to him.

“Father, you are so generous! I want to receive every gift that you have for me, I trust that you will fill me with good things, so I can be a gift and blessing to others.”

Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing me to adapt meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.

 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men

1. Take some time to meditate and reflect on the Scriptures at the beginning of the article. What do you think God is trying to reveal to you through them?

2. In terms of the kinds of gifts our heavenly Father may want to give us, the article states that: “The first, and best, is a closer relationship with him. It’s a relationship where we experience his love more deeply, and trust in his pres­ence more fully.” Do you agree with this? Why or why not? What steps can you take to open yourself to a deepening of your relationship with God?

3. Other spiritual gifts mentioned in the article include: wisdom, community, prayer, and generosity. How have these gifts been manifested in your life? Which ones are the strongest; which ones are the weakest?

4. The last Scripture verse referenced in the article is 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” When it comes to sharing the Gospel, with others, how would you describe the spirit that most affects you – is it cowardice (timidity in another translation), power, or self-control?

5. Romans 1:16 calls the Gospel “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: for Jew first, and then Greek.” In light of Romans 1:16, are you willing to ask the Lord for the gift of courage and boldness when it comes to sharing the Gospel message with others? If not, why not?

6. Take some time now to pray for a greater openness to all the gifts your heavenly Father wants to give you. Use the prayer at the end of the article as the starting point.

 

 

 


Maurice Blumberg is the Director of Partner Relations for The Word Among Us Partners, (http://www.waupartners.org/), a ministry of The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org) to the Military, Prisoners, and women with crisis pregnancies or who have had abortions. Maurice was also the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/), for which he is currently a Trustee. He can be contacted at  mblumberg@wau.org or mblumberg@aol.com.


  • noelfitz

    I am very grateful to Maurice Blumberg for this article.

    The key idea I am thinking of is the “gift of community”.

    Recently a parish pastoral council has been set up in our parish and one of our first tasks is to find out what is expected of the parish.

    We hope to have a meeting in the fall where questions will be asked such as “what do you think is good about our parish?”, “what can be done to make it better?” and “what would you like to do for the parish?” will be asked. The answers will help to prepare a three year plan.

    Do you think this is a good idea?

    Any suggestions?

    • I think that what your parish council wants to do, e.g., “what can be done to make the parish better?” is a good idea.

      I believe a key ingredient in making a parish better is building community within the parish. A good way to do this is is to develop a small group ministry, where small groups of men and women meet together to pray for one another, support one another, grow in faith together, and build relationships. Men and women can meet together or separately – I prefer they meet separately. Men tend not to share very much in mixed groups.

      The groups could use the articles I post on the Catholic Lane website. They could also use the Sunday Mass readings and meditation discussion questions that are also posted on the Catholic Lane website. Of course, there are also many fine Catholic Bible studies that can be used.

      May God richly bless your efforts.

      Maurice

  • noelfitz

    Dear Maurice

    thank you so much for your really encouraging reply to me. I am very appreciative that in you busy life you took time to reply to me so positively.

    I fully agree with you, as does our pastor, that building community is our most important task. Holy Communion (in all forms) is vital.

    I have introduced Lectio Divina (of sorts) in to our parish. To prepare for it I am very much helped by your writings, which I am pleased to acknowledge at our meetings. I am also grateful for suggestions from others here, as well as the recommendation for http://www.menofstjoseph.com/.

    You might like to look at http://newtownparkparish.com/.

    At the moment my family has a very serious concern, and I would welcome your prayers, as well as those of others.