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By Rev Charles Seet

Preached at / Published Life BPC 8 am Service, 2001-12-09

Text: 1 Corinthians 12:28

In our present series of messages on the Dynamics of Spiritual gifts we have covered about seven of the spiritual gifts. And perhaps by now you may be wondering what your spiritual gift really is and found that none of these seven gifts are yours. Perhaps you may be thinking, 'I definitely don't have the gift of an evangelist even though I can witness for Christ, or the gift of teaching. I know very well that the gift of faith is not mine either, because my faith is not the kind that can 'move mountains' so to speak. Neither do I have the spiritual gift of hospitality or giving which requires one to have been blessed with the means to offer these things. So what is my gift? Do I really have a spiritual gift from God?' 

If this is what you are thinking, then the spiritual gift that we are going to focus our attention this morning may help you. It is called the gift of Helps. It is found in 1 Corinthians 12:28 'And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.'

I. What Is The Gift of Helps? 

The gift of Helps is the gift of taking someone's burden and placing it on yourself. This gift relieves others and releases them from burdens that are hindering them from fulfilling their own responsibilities in God's service. This gift is valuable to the body of Christ because it enables others to become more efficient in the use of their spiritual gifts. One example is found in Acts 6 when the church of Jerusalem grew so rapidly that the apostles found themselves swamped with meeting the physical needs of the people and some believers were already murmuring that their physical needs were not being met. So the church appointed seven deacons to provide this service, so that the apostles may be released from this burden and be able to minister more effectively to the church with their own spiritual gifts. And God in His love and providence for the church has provided members who have the spiritual gift of helps to do these things.

It may just be the most routine and mundane tasks, e.g. putting all the inserts in the our church weekly every Friday afternoon, arranging chairs for a worship service, preparing the elements for the Lord's Supper, or preparing refreshments for a fellowship meeting, manning the PA system, manning the children's library, rostering teachers to take care of the children's programme and driving children to and from church for VBS or Sunday School. It also includes hours spent in planning all the logistic details for a church camp or anniversary, publishing gospel tracts or Christian literature, setting up and maintaining a computer system for the church, and maintaining a church website.

Some people may consider the gift of helps as being of lesser importance than the other more prominent gifts of the Spirit. They regard it like a consolation prize from God. But in actual fact the gift of helps is very important to the body of Christ. It can be considered as the backbone of an effective church, or the oil that lubricates whole body so that it will run smoothly and efficiently. When a church is blessed with members who are not only willing, but who also find joy and delight in doing all these things for the Lord, then the work of the Lord will proceed with much greater efficiency and speed.

But even though the gift of helps is important, those who have the gift of helps are often go unappreciated or unrecognised. The gift of helps does not attract very much attention, but those who have this gift will not mind it at all. In fact they prefer to work behind-the-scenes and not to be in the limelight at all - because they do it all for the Lord and not for self-glory. And I thank God for the many wonderful brethren in our church who are unsung heroes in their own right - serving the Lord quietly, faithfully and diligently in their own areas of service.

I think of our PA crew members who come early each Lord's day to set up the PA system, record the worship service, and looking for ways to improve the sound with new equipment. I think of our church pianists and organists who avail themselves not only for worship services here but in other churches as well and even for weddings, for vigil and funeral services. Just this past week, we had two elderly members of our church who went to be with the Lord within a few days of each other, and when I called a brother to ask if he could play for some vigil services, he said, just tell me when I'm needed, and I will be there.

He even brought down his own accordion to the vigil service on Tuesday night because he wanted God's people to have better sounding music for their singing at the service!

You know, for the amount of time, effort, expertise and service that is put in by all these members, they would probably be paid quite handsomely if they were doing it in the secular world. But they do it in church for nothing, in fact oftentimes, they would put in their own funds for any expenses that are needed for their service, and would not ask the church to pay for it at all. I thank God for all the sacrifices they have made and trust that they will be encouraged to continue to serve the Lord well, with their spiritual gift. 

Now, I believe that of all the gifts of the Spirit, the gift of helps is probably the most common gift as well as the most needed gift of all. In the verse where it is mentioned among the spiritual gifts, it is ranked 6th in the list, above two other spiritual gift which the Corinthians regarded very highly (the gift of government and and the gift of speaking in tongues). It is a beautiful and marvelous gift and we need it in good supply in our church. We should never underestimate this gift, because nothing can be accomplished without it. And even though the ones who possess this spiritual gift do not crave at all for attention or appreciation, let us not think that we do not need to show our appreciation to them. Let us be ready to personally encourage them in their service, with verses like 1 Corinthians 15:58 - 'Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.'

And let us also be encouraged by their example to see if we have been similarly blessed by God with the gift of helps and should be using it. I believe that there are many more in our midst who have this spiritual gift but are not using it. The question then is, How can you tell if you have been endowed with this important spiritual gift? Here are some questions you can ask yourself: Are you motivated by a desire to relieve others of mundane tasks that are hindering their service to God? Do I enjoy doing these mundane tasks for the Lord's work? Am I willing to fit in anywhere? Is availability my greatest ability? Do I tend to avoid being in the limelight? Does my service help the church to run more efficiently? If most of your answers to these questions are 'Yes' then you probably possess this spiritual gift.

If you have it, then you should develop it. Look for opportunities to use your spiritual gift. This brings us now to the next part of our message:

II. How Should I Use the Gift of Helps? 

There are some guidelines for the use of this gift. The first is to:

A. Be Available and Observant 

One of the characteristics of servants in a household is that they must be available whenever the master calls for them. Those who want to serve the Lord with their spiritual gift of Helps must therefore be available for service. If you want to serve in any way in Church be sure that you make yourself available consistently on Sundays, and even on other days of the week. It is difficult to entrust responsibilities to anyone who is unable to commit himself to be available for service.

And when you can fulfill this basic requirement of being available, then you must do the next thing, which is to be observant. Be alert and observant and soon you will notice 101 things that need to be done. Then take the initiative to do it. A good servant is always alert to the needs of others. In Psalm 123:2, the psalmist said, 'behold as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that He have mercy upon us.'

The needs of guests in a typical Hebrew household were communicated to the servants by hand signals, so it was the duty of those servants to carefully observe the hands of the master and mistress. A certain signal would mean that food was to be served. Another signal would mean that something else was required. In the same way, those of us who have the gift of helps must observe the needs around us carefully to know what we should do. And it should not always be necessary to wait until you are requested to do certain tasks that need to be done. We should take the initiative, and do whatever has to be done. Now, sometimes you will observe that the tasks that need to be done are the so-called menial tasks, the tasks that nobody likes to do at all. This is where the next guideline for the gift of helps should be applied:

B. Be Willing To Take Unpleasant or Tedious Tasks 

Many may think that these tasks are insignificant and that it is beneath their dignity to do them. But let us remember that Jesus Christ Himself was a lowly servant in His ministry on earth. It is therefore good for us to make Him our role model of service. One of the best passages that shows this is John 13:1-13 when the disciples were gathered together for the Last Supper.

Let us turn our Bibles to John 13. In vv. 4 & 5 we see that Jesus rose up from the Supper table, laid aside His garments; took a towel and girded Himself and proceeded to wash their dirty and smelly feet. What He did was most surprising to all of them. He was doing the work of a servant, even though He was really their Master. They should be washing His feet. Then He said to them in John 13:14,15- 'Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well: for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.'

If you want to serve the way that our Lord Jesus Christ served, then you must be willing to do things which are beneath your rank or status in life. One of the reasons why people dislike service is that the work is sometimes quite unpleasant, tedious or boring. Now, the challenge is not to just do these unpleasant, tedious and boring tasks willingly, but to carry them out with a joyful spirit of service! That is the third guideline for the use of this gift.

C. Carry Out Each Task With A Joyful Spirit of Service 

Do you know that it is a sin to serve the Lord without joy? Let me show you where it says this, turn your Bibles to Deuteronomy 28:45 -47 (In these verses, Moses is warning Israel against certain sins that will bring God's wrath upon them: 'Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; . . . (v.47) Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;' For this reason we are reminded in Psalm 100:2 to 'Serve the Lord with gladness.' Any service not done with gladness, but done grudgingly displeases the Lord. It should done as an expression of our love to the Lord, who is our Heavenly Father.

When our parents require us to do something for them like running an errand, we do it lovingly for them because we are their children. We have their interests are in our hearts, we count it an honour to serve them even in small little ways, because they are our very own parents. Much more then, when our heavenly Father requires us to do something for Him, we ought to do it as His children, with eagerness, love and joy in our hearts. We ought to give Him our best. This brings us to the next guideline:

D. Make Sure That Your Service Is Of The Best Quality 

The Gift of Helps places a very high responsibility on the ones who have them - the responsibility to give their very best in every thing they do, whether big or small tasks. Let nothing be done in a slipshod or careless manner, just because it is a small thing that no one bothers to take notice of. All service done for the Lord should be the best quality service. For instance, if you have been asked to chair a fellowship meeting, it would not be the best quality service for you to wait till just five minutes before the meeting begins to prepare the programme, choose the songs and make hasty preparations. To give shoddy work to the Lord is to insult Him. And if you want to do your best, always do more than what is required of you. Go the second mile. For instance, if you are required to play the piano or organ for worship service, practice and practice until you get the chords and tempo right. It is good to find out in advance what songs are going to be sung so that you can practise them before hand.

Please remember that the Lord is mindful of little details, even of an act of offering a cup of cold water. So whatever you do, do it as if the Lord Himself is going to inspect or audit your work and you have to give an account for it. Do remember the parable of the Talents? - how the first two servants were able to show their work to their master with joy, and not with sorrow and shame like the last servant did. Please do not consider any work to be too small or insignificant to deserve the best quality of service that you can give to it! In order for your service to be the best, your own resources will definitely not be sufficient. This is why the gift of Helps needs to be exercised in the power of God.

E. Carry Out Your Service With God's Power 

As you embark on each task and exercise your spiritual gift, get into the habit of praying for God's help. Ask the Lord to grant you wisdom, diligence, skill and guidance so that everything you do will turn out exactly the way that the Lord wants it done. Dedicate your work to the glory of God, and when it is accomplished, utter a prayer of thanksgiving for all the power and enablement He has given to you.

It is interesting to note that when the Israelites were given the task of building the tabernacle in the wilderness, there were two men who were blessed by God with the special spiritual gift of helps to make all the furniture and equipment that was to be used in worship. Let me read to you the account of this in Exodus 31:1-6 'And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee'

According to this, Bezaleel from the tribe of Judah, and Aholiab from the tribe of Dan, were specially endowed by God with all the skill and wisdom they needed for their service of making the Tabernacle and all the things that were used to God's worship. May all of us who are given tasks to do in the Body of Christ, also seek the Lord for the skill and wisdom to do it well. In this passage we also notice that Bezaleel was filled with the Spirit for his service. Let us seek the filling of the Spirit even for carrying out the seemingly mundane tasks of service. Remember what God said through Zechariah the prophet (4:6) -- 'Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit.' The enabling power for using our spiritual gifts comes from the Holy Spirit of God.

Besides depending upon the Lord for power to serve, those who have the gift of helps should also depend upon the Lord to reveal His will for their service. This brings us to the last guideline that we want to consider for the use of this spiritual gift:

F. Seek God's Will for Your Service 

Sometimes the Lord may want you to leave a particular area of service that you have been doing faithfully for Him, and train up someone else to take over your responsibility, because He is calling you to other areas that need the exercise of your gift. And perhaps God may be speaking to someone here today who has overcommitted himself or herself to too many areas of service.

Those who are keen to serve with the gift of helps can fall into this trap of overcommitting themselves, even to the point that their spiritual life is affected by this. Please do not think that you must do everything that there is to do. There is the danger of becoming too busy in service, doing more than you should be doing. Our Lord Jesus was a very close friend to a family of believers at Bethany, consisting of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Lazarus was the one he raised from the dead. Once, when Jesus was at their home, the two sisters Mary and Martha did different things in response to the presence of Jesus in their home. Mary sat at Jesus feet, and listened intently to His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:38-42)

Perhaps there are many of us here who so busy being Marthas that we miss the blessing of being Marys. Be careful not to be cumbered about with much serving at the expense of spending quality time with the Lord. Perhaps God may want you who are Marthas to yield some of what you are doing to others those who have nothing to do. Get others who have the spiritual gift of helps involved in using their gifts.

Let us personally seek God's will concerning our service to Him. Ask the Lord what your spiritual gift is, and how He wants you to use it to do your part in building up the body of Christ. If the Lord should impress upon you that you have the spiritual gift of helps, ask the Lord to show you what areas of service He wants you to serve in. And as He convicts us about His will for us, let us commit ourselves to do His will.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25