each of us is to exercise them accordingly:
if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;
if service, in his serving;
or he who teaches, in his teaching;
or he who exhorts, in his exhortation;
he who gives, with liberality;
he who leads, with diligence;
he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
My husband has the gift of service. He is always willing to do the dirty work in any situation and never complain or boast. He just sees the need and does it, never asking for recognition. His love for helping people makes me look like a sluggard. He truly has the heart of a servant. Again, God gave this spiritual gift to him.
to visit orphans and widows in their distress,
and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Sometimes it is hard to know just what it is that God wants us to do in certain seasons in life. For me it is very easy to look at the large families around us and wish that we too had a house full of children. Six years ago we asked God to bless us with more children. After two surgeries and a miscarriage, that door has been closed.
We recently knocked on the door of "visiting the orphans", through adoption. This door continues to be closed to us, even though we'd love to rescue a child or two and bring them into our family. So many things I don't understand about God's ways, but I know He IS God!
I've come to realize that I have been coveting the spiritual gift (and blessings) of others, I have coveted God's calling on their lives. For whatever reasons God has for not bringing more children into our family, that is His plan. He knows we are open and willing.
and especially for those of his household,
he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
1 Timothy 5:8
We do have a calling of our own. We have widows in our own family that need help, perhaps that is where God wants us to pour our energy and finances into (Just so you know our widows live 1100 miles away from us) . We are suppose to care for those in our own family before we do others. If fact, Scripture says that those who do not care for the needs of their own family is worse than an unbeliever. Is God really pleased when we neglect the needs (I mean real needs) of our own family members, especially the widowed and elderly, and pour our gifts and resources into other areas?
Some people are in the position where they can do both. Most of us have different seasons of life where we are able to do more than other times. If we are open to obey God, He will bring us opportunities all through our lives to minister to the widows and orphans, it may be in ways that are not the norm, and it may be at times when we least expect it.
If it were up to me I'd have a house a full of children, by birth and adoption, but right now that is not God's plan for us. So I will strive to carry the rare jewel of contentment and serve in other ways, using the gifts God has given me. After all, if I am not doing what He has called ME to do, who will do it?
Whatever God's calling is we ALL need to:
Let love be without hypocrisy,
Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;
give preference to one another in honor;
not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,
contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.