Preparation: Make two to six different kinds of cake and decorate them differently. On top, write a different spiritual gift on each cake. I made three (9×13) cakes and cut them in half.
Manuscript: Good morning, Boys and Girls! This morning we are continuing our Church 101 Series. So far, we've learned the church is the people. We did the Hokey Pokey to remind us that each one of us is a different part of the body that makes up the church. Then we learned that Jesus makes us fishers of men so our mission is to reach other people with the good news about His love. We've also talked about the responsibility of the church: stewardship, in which we are to use what God has given us faithfully to multiply His kingdom and become overflowing with blessings.
During the course of our church 101 Series, I've mentioned several times that God made each and every one of you unique and special. When we make Jesus our Lord, the Holy Spirit gives us individual spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are special talents or abilities the Holy Spirit gives us to help one another, encourage one another, build one another up and ultimately bring glory and honor to God. We know everyone has a spiritual gift, but what are we to do with our gifts? Let's turn to the Bible to see what we can learn about what God intends.
"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms" (1 Pet. 4:10). So what does that mean? Simply put, it means we are to take the gifts we have and share them with others. What are spiritual gifts? The Bible gives examples of spiritual gifts such as:
That's a pretty nice list, isn't it? Yet, what do those things mean exactly? How about this: Have any of you gone through a situation in which you desperately needed God's help, and you knew–just knew–God was going to take care of the situation and bring you through it? If that sounds like you, then you might have the gift of faith. Or what about this: Have any of you told your friends about Jesus? If you have a heart for lost people and want to ask others to invite Jesus into their lives, then you might have the gift of evangelism. Have any of you ever seen another student bing picked on at school and stood up for your friend or maybe tried to be that person's friend because you felt compassion? If you've done that, then you might have the gift of mercy. Are any of you big helpers–you just enjoy doing things to be kind to other people and help? If so, then you might have the gift of serving.
These are just a few examples, but I hope it shows you how spiritual gifts are lived out in our daily lives. Now the question becomes, How do you know which spiritual gift you have? Where do you fit?
First, you need to have a relationship with God and ask Him to show you what He has called you to do. Then you need to get out and just do it. Many churches provide people with spiritual gift assessments that can help provide you with places to start discovering your gifts, and they most likely also tell you where your gifts definitely do not fit. Really, the best way to find out is to volunteer your time and actively seek opportunities to practice different things. You won't know if your gift is giving if you never give anything to anyone.
Let's look at it this way: Each gift is unique and different, right? So up here I have separate and unique cakes. Each cake has a different spiritual gift written on it, and each is made differently. This one is chocolate with chocolate icing. Faith is written on top of it. That cake isn't for me at all. I really don't like chocolate, and faith is definitely not a spiritual gift of mine. I am a Thomas type of person–too much of a worrier and too practical for my own good. This cake is yellow with white icing, and it says administration on it. Well, that might be an alright fit. Yellow cake is not my favorite, but I enjoy it and most of the time prefer it over other things; so we're getting closer. This is a chocolate cake with white icing. It says giving on it. Well, I like the icing, but not the cake at all; and I'm not really a giver. I don't think I'm stingy, but I just don't have the resources to use this gift. This one is a white cake with chocolate icing. It says tongues. Again, I really don't like chocolate, and I have never spoken another language through the Spirit of God, so this cake is not for me. OK, here it is: white cake with white icing. This is my favorite cake! Look, this one just happens to have my spiritual gift on it–teaching! I've found it. I've found my spiritual gift-cake!
So now what should I do with it? Well, I could eat the whole thing myself. Do you think I ought to do that? What good would that do me to keep it all to myself? No good at all! In fact, I could do myself harm if I kept it all to myself. Instead, I should share my spiritual gift with you guys. See, when the Bible says we are to use our spiritual gifts, it always says it builds up the body of Christ for the common good of all. We use our gifts so we can all share in God's grace, and we can all benefit. Do you think I should practice that? Should I share my spiritual gift cake? I think you're right. We'll take these down and you can have some during extended session. Just as I'm going to share my cake with you because you are part of the church–the body of Christ–I want all of you to share your spiritual gifts with one another, too.