Have you ever come into contact with persons in church leadership positions who, thinking that the real “skill” grass is “greener on the other side”? Have you seen them shrink to levels of performance well below their God-intended potential? They convinced themselves that they just didn’t “have it.” Here is a word of encouragement for someone you may know who thinks like that.
The surprising reality is that God wants to work “wonders” for people within our spheres of influence by using the resources He has placed within our hearts and hands to share. Since God is the resource originator of the universe and the human resources placement officer in His earthly agency, the church (1 Corinthians 12:11), we can reasonably assume that He will be pleased if we would be willing to share what we have (what He has given to us) for the up-building of His work.
An illustration of the point is in Acts 3:1-11. Peter and John, while on their way to the afternoon prayer meeting, encountered a 40-year-old crippled man begging at the church gate. Expecting a cash donation, the man gave them his “pitch.” After explaining their cash flow dilemma, Peter determined that he would share what he had! He did not have financial power, but he did have Holy Ghost power!
Peter commanded the man, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (verse 6) and he did so—with great vigor, I might add! There was great rejoicing in the church and the city that day because two willing church leaders shared what they had! Surely you want to function on this level of power all the time. I know I do!
My research has revealed that if we are to successfully share what we have as Peter and John did we would do well to embrace at least three understandings.
1. Position yourself to share. Displays of this kind are not the result of happenstance, neither are powerful displays of ministry through you in your local setting. Ellen G. White, in The Acts of the Apostles, page 57, states that this incident of healing took place in this manner:
- A short time after the descent of the Holy Ghost on them. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is God’s power (dunamis—ability to function) on us that wakes up God’s gifts to us so that we can be effective at anything God asks us to do. Check with Peter and the anointed apostles! The same power is available for us in ministry in the local church.
- Immediately after a season of prayer. Prayer programs are our guidance system, placing us in contact with our Lord. He lets us know where to go, what to do, and who assures us of success in mission with Him. Take another look at 2 Chronicles 7:14. I am getting more courage to share what I have even as I write!
2. Know what you have and do not have to share. Notice that Peter and John were very clear about this. Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you” (Acts 3:6). We must develop the same degree of clarity so that we may avoid making promises that we cannot deliver. Therefore, it would be well for us to individually, and as local congregations, to involve ourselves in a continual process of inventory.
Let us become aware of our spiritual gifts, talents, skills, personalities, and temperaments so that we can most likely function in the realm of our combined specialties as opposed to fanciful dreams. We may not be able to do it all, but all of us can do something! Share what you have!
3. Build Goodwill. Goodwill results when we share what we have. We are told that a little boy shared his lunch, and thousands were fed. David shared a smooth stone, and Israel’s self-esteem was restored. A healed man shared his testimony one day, and more than 5,000 people joined the church that day (Acts 4:4). When we share what we have (what God has given to us), we give the Lord opportunities to work wonders through us.
Dear leader, you have it! Go forward in Christ’s humble mind-set (Philippians 2) knowing that God’s work will be accomplished through you. “ ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). Share what you have!
J. Alfred Johnson II
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists