Dr. Stanley reminds us that God has a plan for each of our lives. That’s why He has given us talents, abilities, and skills to help people and accomplish the things He wants us to accomplish. We are to put these gifts to work to serve one another as God’s good stewards. Whatever gifts we have received, God gave them to use for the purpose of serving others. For more messages from Charles Stanley, including this week’s broadcast, go to intouch.org/tv.

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male announcer: “In Touch,” the
teaching ministry of Dr. Charles

Stanley, reaching the world with
the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Next on “In Touch,”
“Gifted for Service.”

Dr. Charles Stanley: One of
the greatest tragedies in life

is for a person to live their
whole life with no purpose,

no sense of direction, no goals.

They’re just floating through
life, just sort of managing to

live from one day to the
next or maybe from one week

to the next, maybe from one
paycheck to the next,

accomplishing nothing, really,
except just existing and making

enough money maybe
to just get by.

And I can tell you no
matter who you are,

that is not the will and the
plan of God for your life.

It’s very clear in the scripture
that He has a plan

and a will for everyone’s life.

And one of the most important
things about our relationship to

Him and our relationship to each
other is the fact that God has

given you and me a
spiritual gift or gifts.

And He’s given us talents
and abilities and skills.

And He’s given them to
us for a specific reason.

But if you don’t know that and
you don’t care and you just want

to get by, you’ll
miss out on life’s best.

So I want you to turn, if you
will, to First Peter, chapter

four, and look, if you will,
beginning at this tenth verse,

which is very important.

And Peter’s just been talking
about things that are going to

happen and so forth.

And so he comes down to the
tenth verse of First Peter four

and he says, and every word is
important in the Word of God.

He says, “As each one has
received a special gift,

employ it in serving one
another as good stewards

of the manifold grace of God.

Whoever speaks is to do so
as one who is speaking the

utterances of God; whoever
serves is to do so as one who is

serving by the
strength which God supplies,

so that in all things God may be
glorified through Jesus Christ,

to whom belongs the glory and
the dominion forever and ever.”

Now, let’s distinguish
between something.

God has given to every one
of us one or more gifts,

so let’s define, what
is a spiritual gift?

And I’ll have these
on the screen here.

A spiritual gift is what?

A divinely given endowment that
enables us or equips us to serve

Him effectively
and successfully.

That is, God has placed within
you as one of His children,

He has endowed you
with a very special gift.

That is, He’s endowed you with
the enabling power to work in

your life to fulfill His
purpose, whatever that

might be, and to do so
effectively and successfully.

And so, if you’re a
believer, you have

one of these special gifts.

And so let’s look for just a
moment at how the scripture

divides them up,

Let’s start with Ephesians
chapter four.

And Paul in Ephesians chapter
four talks about ministry gifts.

And if you’ll notice, if you
will, in verse eleven

of Ephesians four, He says,
“And He gave some as apostles,

some as prophets,
some as evangelists,

and some as
pastors and teachers.”

And you’ll notice, he puts
pastors and teachers together

because a pastor ought
to be teaching the flock.

So, these are ministry gifts.

And notice what he
says, He gives these gifts,

“for the equipping of the saints
for the work of service, to the

building up of the
body of Christ.”

That is my responsibility in
this fellowship, to build you up

by the grace of God and the
power of the Holy Spirit.

That is, in order to work out
God’s will and purpose and plan

in your life, to build
up the whole fellowship.

So, I want you to
turn, if you will,

to First
Corinthians for a moment.

And let’s look at the twelfth
chapter of First Corinthians.

And here are some
personal gifts that God gives.

And if you’ll
notice what Paul says,

beginning in the first verse,
“Now concerning spiritual gifts,

brethren, I do not want you to
be ignorant,” and then he moves

on down and he
says in verse four,

“Now there are
varieties of gifts, but,”

watch this, and the–
“but the same Spirit.”

It is the Holy Spirit
that gives the gift.

You don’t get a
gift from this person,

that person, the other person.

Spiritual gifts are a gift from
God through the Holy Spirit.

“There are
varieties of ministries,

and the same Lord.

There are varieties of effects,”
as a result of working these

gifts, “but the same
God who works

all things in all persons.”

But now watch the seventh verse,
“But to each one is given the

manifestation,” or the
expression of that “Spirit

for the common good.”

That is, whatever
your spiritual gift is,

God didn’t give it
to you just for you.

He gave it to you
for the common good,

that is, for the church, for
the whole body of Christ.

Then if you’ll go to
Romans chapter twelve,

and here is
another set of gifts.

The first one
were ministry gifts,

secondly, personal
gifts that God gives,

but always for the purpose
of the work of the church.

And then, beginning in
the twelfth chapter,

beginning, if you will,
in verse four of Romans,

“For just as we have many
members in one body and all the

members do not have the same
function,” they don’t all do the

same thing, but many
different members.

We got choir members,
orchestra members,

teachers, and
prayers and so forth,

“So we, who are many,
are one body in Christ,

and individually
members of one another.”

Now, listen to what he says,
“Since we have gifts that differ

according to the
grace given to us,

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;

one who shows mercy,
with cheerfulness.”

So here are seven
different gifts.

Now, listen carefully.

These are motivational gifts.

That is, these gifts are given
to you for a specific purpose,

that which God wants to use you.

A motivational gift is a
gift that expresses itself

within you that motivates you.

That is, there’s
something about that.

For example, a nurse with a
gift of mercy would be highly

motivated in that
area, or probably

wouldn’t become a nurse.

A teacher who has the gift of
teaching is motivated to teach.

A person with the
gift of exhortation,

which is mine, I’m motivated
every Sunday to do what we do.

And you could just go down
the list of each one of them.

So, these are the gifts that
God has given to everyone,

and the scripture says it very
clear here in First Corinthians,

where we were reading.

He says, for example, that they
are given for the common good,

which means they don’t–He
doesn’t give us spiritual gifts

for our sake, but He gives
them for the common good.

And so, “But to each one is
given the manifestation of the

Spirit,” that is how
the Spirit operates,

“for the common good.”

And that means, for
example, in a church like this,

all this whole body right
here in this particular group,

we have all these gifts.

And so each one of us is to
exercise our gift in behalf of

somebody else, for someone else.

And you see somebody headed for
trouble and you’re an exhorter,

you want to stop
them, if at all possible.

You hear someone
suffering, you want to

step in when they’re suffering.

If you see somebody who’s making
a mistake and it’s because they

don’t know how, you
want to teach them how.

And so, I could give you
a lot of illustrations,

but let me give you one simple
one that I’ve given before

because it’s so simple.

You have invited seven
people to your house.

You’re having a
wonderful dinner.

Your best spread’s on the table.

Everybody has a glass of
iced tea and a plate and spoon,

knife, and fork and so forth.

And you haven’t been sitting
there very long, and somebody,

let’s just say that it’s
my house and I knock

over my glass of tea.

Now, how would
each person respond?

Mercy would say, “Oh!

My goodness!”

And a person with a
gift of giving would say,

“Oh, we can buy another glass.

You don’t worry about that.”

And the person with
exhortation would say,

“Well, next time, maybe you
should–if you put your glass on

this side, it’d be okay.”

The person with the
gift of organization said,

“You go get the
mop, I’ll get this,

and we’ll take
care of all this.”

You can take each one
of them and they’ll

respond a certain way,
you know why?

Because they–God made us
to be a part of the whole.

And if you are giving of
yourself to other people,

motivated on your gift,
you’re going to be happier.

You’re going to be more
successful with what

you do no matter what that is.

And I think when people feel
that their life is meaningless,

they’re going to
make it meaningful,

even if it means to do something
wrong to get recognition.

So, he says God has
given us all of these,

that is for the
good of everyone,

not just for the
good of one person.

So, when I think about the
purpose for which they’ve been

given, especially,
he–notice he says,

“Employ it,” put it to
work, “in serving one another.”

So whatever your gift is, God
didn’t give it to you for you.

He gave it to you to use you
in some way for somebody else.

We have all been in situations
where each one of those we need.

Then been in situations where
somebody needed to give you

something or encourage
you, or direct you,

instruct you, for example.

Or somebody needed
to correct you

because of something
you did wrong.

In other words, all
the gifts have a part.

This is about us giving
ourselves away to each other.

What can I do to
help the other person?

Because people who are
always looking out for

themselves, they’re not happy.

They’re not at peace.

You don’t even want to be around
them, because it’s me, myself,

and I, and that’s all
they’re interested in.

What will it profit me?

What will I get out of this?

And that is not
love, for example.

And it is not the
reason He gave us the gifts.

And so I look at
Mark chapter ten,

verse forty-five, and listen to
what Jesus said about Himself.

And I would certainly think
this ought to be our example.

He says in verse forty-five,
“For even the Son of Man,” and

notice how he said it, even I.

Jesus said even I, “the Son of
Man did not come to be served,

but to serve, and to give
His life a ransom for many.”

And who was it washing
feet at that Last Supper?

Jesus washing feet, because
He was demonstrating

what service was all about.

And so the truth is you have a
very definite spiritual gift

with your name on it,
given to you by Almighty God.

And nobody else
can give it to you,

and nobody else can
take it away from you.

The only thing you can do is
employ it for the purpose of God

or waste it by ignoring it and
being selfish and not living it

out as God would
intend you to do.

And so, remember what he said?

He says He gives us these
gifts for the common good,

and we’re to serve Him.

And he says it, “as good
stewards,” or excellent

stewards, which means this.

Whatever little I have, I am
to be a good steward of it.

If I only have a
little bit of money,

I’m to be a good steward of it.

If I want more and, be honest,
if I want more, I work harder.

I’m more diligent.

I may outwork somebody
else or whatever it might be.

He says we’re to
be good stewards.

In other words, look, the
more truth that you know,

the more truth
you’re responsible for.

And the reason God gives you
truth is to make it possible for

you to become the full
person God wants you to be.

What is your potential?

You don’t know what
your potential is.

You have no idea
what your potential is

until you’re tested.

And once you’re tested,
for example, what happens?

Just like people in
the sports field.

They never know what they can
do till they get in the contest.

They break all kind of records.

And they think this record,
nobody will ever break it.

And somebody else comes
along and, yes, they do.

People are always,
in those areas,

are striving for the best.

They want to be the best.
Let me ask you a question.

Because you’re a
follower of Jesus Christ,

ignore what the
world thinks of you.

You’re a follower
of Jesus Christ.

You and I have a
responsibility to do our best.

It may not be as
good as somebody else,

but I have the responsibility to
being my best at where I am

and whatever I’m doing.

There’s always
somebody who can

outdo you, but
that’s not the issue.

The issue: Am I
giving it my best?

God is not expecting you
to be like anybody else,

not expecting you to
be like anybody else,

He’s expecting you and equipping
you to be your best at what He

wants you to do, why He created
you and given you the gifts and

the endowments of
talents that He’s given you.

That’s all He’s expecting.

And He says you’re living
it out for somebody else,

for the common good, for
the whole body of Christ.

So, when I look at
all these passages,

and I look at Colossians
chapter three for a moment,

and notice what Paul is saying
here, because he’s talking about

this very idea of doing our
best at what we do.

And here’s what he says
in the third chapter.

He says, twenty-second verse,
“Slaves, in all things obey

those who are your
masters on earth,

not with external service, as
those who merely please men,

but with sincerity of
heart, fearing the Lord.”

Now, watch this,
“Whatever you do,

do your work
heartily,” thoroughly,

completely, enthusiastically,
“do your work heartily,

as for the Lord
rather than for men.”

He says , “Whatever you
do, do your work heartily,

as for the Lord
rather than for men,

Knowing that from the
Lord you will receive

the reward of the inheritance.

It’s the Lord
Christ whom you serve.”

If we could just get that.

It’s Jesus whom we are serving.

This may be the mediator,
whoever that person is and where

we work, but it’s the
Lord whom we serve.

But if I do my best at whatever
I do, that’s what matters.

Now, let’s think
for just a moment.

Why do believers fail to
serve Him and weaken

the testimony of the church?

Why do they do it?

So I’m going to give you a list.

So I won’t have to take
too long to discuss these.

Number one, they’re
ignorant of scripture.

There are people who have no
earthly idea that God requires

them to exercise their spiritual
gifts and their talents.

Secondly, there people
who feel inadequate,

“Aw, I couldn’t do this.”

Now, watch this,
when people say “I can’t,”

they’re looking at themselves
from their viewpoint,

not God’s viewpoint,
not what God said,

but what they think,
which makes them inexcusable.

Third, they have guilt feelings.

Well, I can’t serve the Lord
because back yonder in my life I

did this, I did that, and
so I’m just not worthy.

God’s grace takes
care of the past.

Not acceptable.

Then I think, one of the reasons
that people don’t serve the Lord

is a lack of love and
caring for other people.

They don’t love other folks.

Some people grew up in a home
where they were never taught to

love and never saw an example
of love, I understand that.

But you know, you can get over
those things if you want to.

You, listen, if you just spend
your life excusing yourself for

laziness and trifleness and
sloppiness and all the rest

because, well, my family
did this and my–well,

you know what, we’ve all
grown up in bad situations

about certain things in life.

We–but God’s gifted
us, He’s talented us,

He’s given us opportunities.

We don’t stay where we are.

We move on in life.

It may not be as fast
as you want it to be.

But when you’re faithful where
you are–and I can think of some

people that it seems they
only have one gift in life,

but how faithful,
loyal, devoted they are.

And God says He’s the one
who gives them the reward.

Then of course, there are people
who are selfish with their time.

And as we’ve said
before, they say,

well, I just don’t have time.

In other words, you don’t have
to witness to somebody else.

You don’t have time to serve.

You don’t have time to sing in
the choir, though you’re gifted.

You don’t have time to
play, though you’re gifted.

You don’t have time do this,
that, the other, and so forth.

You don’t have time
to visit other people.

You don’t have time–you
don’t have any time to do

anything for
anybody but yourself.

That is pure selfishness.


Now, here’s one of
the worst things.

Comparing yourself
with someone else.

You know why that’s not right?

Number one, nobody
else is like you.

You put everybody’s thumbprint,
they’re all different.

I don’t understand how you
could have six–seven billion

thumbprints, I don’t
know how all that works.

But I can say this,
God knows you by name.

And when you think about
it, it’s not right to compare

yourself with somebody else.

For example, as a nurse, you’re
a nurse, and you think, “Well,

you know, I just don’t have
the stamina so and so has.”

Or maybe you’re a secretary,
and you’re not the best

in the world with a computer.

Don’t compare yourself
with somebody else.

Here’s what you do: “God, I want
to thank you for the gifts and

talents and skills you’ve
given me, and God, by

the Holy Spirit, I’m
going to improve.

I’m not going to
stay where I am.

I’m going to improve.

I’m not just waiting
for somebody

else to just give me a break.

I’m going to improve by the
power of the Spirit of God.”

And do you think
God’ll help you?


He promises to do so.

You don’t know what your
potential is, and as long

as you blame somebody else,
and there’s something

about the past where
you–you’ll never make it.

That, listen, everybody–in
fact, if you list–if you go

through the list of history of
people who have done

amazing things in life,
they came from crazy paths.

You’d think they’d never
amount to anything in life.

But you know what?

They didn’t stay
where they were.

They didn’t look around and say,
“I’ll never amount to anything.”

They decided I’m
going to give it my best.

I may not get there,
but I give it my best.

And when people get over that,

then God’ll begin to
work in their life.

Then of course, one of the
primary reasons that

people don’t really serve God
is they’re living in sin.

You live in sin, you don’t have
any big desire to serve God.

You don’t have a big
desire to help other people.

You’re just trying
to satisfy yourself,

and when I think of anything
that breaks my heart is when I

see people waste
talent, skills, time,

gifts, because of
this, because of that,

because the other
when God saved them,

sent the Holy Spirit,
living on the inside of them,

and it’s like He
had to go to sleep.

You never know your potential
until you put yourself in the

hands of God and say “Lord,
I’m going to do it your way.”

And my desire for you is that
you look at yourself and say,

“God, here’s who I am today.

What do You want
to do in my life?

Where do You want me to go?

I refuse to accept the excuse
that I can’t, and they won’t.

The important thing is,
God, what do You want?

And now that I know I have
a spiritual gift and I have

talents and I have
the Holy Spirit in me,

God, I’m going to give it
my best beginning today.

I’m listening for direction.

I’m going to trust You
and I’m going to obey you.”

Today could be a
life-changing day in your life.

It’s a choice you make.

If you’ve never trusted
Jesus as your Savior,

It’s not going to work.

You know why?
The wages of sin is death.

The gift of God is eternal life.

And my prayer is that you would
ask Jesus Christ to forgive you

of your sins based on the fact
that He went to the cross and

died on the cross
and His blood paid

your sin debt in full so that
you don’t have to pay it.

He forgives you of your sin,
writes your name in the Lamb’s

Book of Life and seals you
forever as a child of God.

Whoever you are,
wherever you are,

you’ve just heard the truth.

And I pray in Jesus’s name that
you’d be willing to ask Him to

forgive you of your sins, tell
Him you’ve messed up your life.

You’ve depended on other things.

You’ve lived it the
way you want to live it.

You’ve never given Him any
real thought in your life

about how you should live.

You thought you were doing well.

You’re not doing
well without Jesus.

You’re going to
reap what you sow,

more than you sow,
later than you sow.

You cannot change it.

My prayer for you is that you
be wise enough to receive

Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Father, how grateful we
are for Your love for us.

How many times do we have to ask
You to forgive us for not living

up to what we know is
the best we could do.

Please, Lord, do not allow us to
be satisfied with anything less

than holy living and holy
giving of ourselves to You,

to be used by You any way,
every way You possibly can.

I pray that You’ll seal this
message in the heart

of every single believer.

Do not let it
escape them, Father.

And I pray for somebody
here who is unsaved.

They’re already wasting time.

Help them to see, the first step
is to be saved, the second step

is to surrender themselves to
you and be filled with the

Holy Spirit, and the third step
is to say, “Yes, Lord.

Here am I.
Use me, send me, I’m available.”

And that’s our
prayer this morning,

In Jesus’s name, amen.