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Direction: Lay Out Your Gifts and Graces for God

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity

Advice: Lay Out for God

Direction: Lay Out Your Gifts and Graces for God}

Lay out your gifts and graces for God and the good of souls. “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7 NASB). God’s purpose for giving gifts to anyone is that they should use them to His glory and for the good of others. An ability to serve God and further His kingdom in the world is a privilege that the saints in Heaven do not enjoy. The angels, when employed in this purpose, readily and cheerfully carry it out. Someone said, “Angels are vigilant creatures and wait for opportunities. When they come, they will not lose them.” Yes, doing good in the world is the kind of prize that, once lost [via death], can never be enjoyed again. Gracious souls can never return to their stewardship once it has been given up [by passing into glory], and therefore it should be heedfully regarded and faithfully used while it continues. God does not give abilities and gifts to be hidden away in a handkerchief (Luke 19:20),1589 nor lamps to be hidden under a basket. None of us lives to himself (Romans 14:7).1590 All of the saints’ personalities and characters make them able to be useful in their particular interpersonal relationships. They are the lights of the world set on a lampstand, that they may cause their light to shine forth before people (Matthew 5:14–15).1591 They are the salt of the earth for the purpose of influencing others for good. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matthew 5:13 NASB). The saints are stars in God’s firmament, to communicate their light and influence to others (1 Corinthians 15:41).1592 They are vessels in God’s house fit for honorable use (2 Timothy 2:20–21).1593 They are stones in His building that have a mutual usefulness to bear up one another so as to preserve the whole (1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 2:19–22).1594 They are branches in the vine that yield their fruit to cheer people’s hearts (Judges 9:13).1595 They are trees in God’s garden, full of sap (Psalm 104:16).1596 They are members of the body to impart nourishment to one another (Ephesians 4:16).1597 The saints must discharge their respective duties of sympathy, care, and helpfulness to their fellow members. “We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14 NASB). Use all your abilities for God while you have them, lest He take from you them or the ability to make use of them.

1589Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief’” (Luke 19:20 NKJV).

1590For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself” (Romans 14:7 ESV).

1591You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house” (Matthew 5:14–15 NASB).

1592There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory” (1 Corinthians 15:41 NKJV).

1593Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:20–21 ESV).

1594You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5 NKJV). “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19–22 NASB). Ashwood’s original reference is uncertain.

1595But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my wine that cheers God and men and go hold sway over the trees?’” (Judges 9:13 ESV).

1596The trees of the Lord are full of sap, The cedars of Lebanon which He planted” (Psalm 104:16 NKJV).

1597“…from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:16 ESV).

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