“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, NIV 1984).
Dr. John Michael is one of my heroes.
It began as a commitment to disciple one Christian medical student, Sam, during one summer within John’s radiation oncology practice. When that commitment came to an end, Sam returned to school and Dr. Michael felt called by God to witness for Christ on the streets of our inner city. As John was making these plans, Sam showed up with seven of his Christian classmates and asked if they could do the same. So, Dr. Michael and a dozen or so medical students began to meet each week and walk the streets and the local college campus, telling people about Jesus. Many have come to Christ through their witness. Now, 12 to 15 medical students are discipling 30 college kids to do the same. John Michael is just a doctor, working out what God worked into him, and I am amazed.
It seems clear to me that this young radiation oncologist has been given God’s gift of evangelism. I know that all of us are called to evangelize in our daily lives, but some are given a special gift, like John Michael. I have begged God to make me an effective witness so that people will accept Him through me on a regular basis, but that happens only occasionally.
I don’t envy Dr. Michael’s gift and the gift is not what makes him a hero. John Michael is one of my Christian heroes because he deliberately uses God’s gift. In spite of time constraints, in spite of pressures to be home with his family, in spite of respect issues with his colleagues, in spite of his own realization that he is not “good enough” to be a representative of God’s kingdom, Dr. Michael presses ahead, deliberately working out the gift that God has worked into him. That’s what makes him one of my Christian heroes.
Each of us has been given gifts by God to use with Him in His plan to redeem the world: “…some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11, NIV 1984). All of us have been given such gifts to bring this world to know Him and to grow in Him. Most of us occasionally borrow these blessings from our secular efforts and do a small project for God, and then hand them back to practical uses until another “God project” comes along. But, whether it is evangelism or teaching or giving or singing or administrating or hospitality or service or whatever, God has built these gifts into our lives to be used for Him on a daily basis.
So, when I look at God’s gifts to me, I have to ask myself, “How am I using them on a regular basis, in a deliberate way for Jesus?”
I am a teacher. How am I deliberately using my gift of teaching each week to bring glory to His name?
I am a healer. Does my healing bring as much satisfaction to God as it does to me?
Am I stealing God’s glory?
Am I hoarding God’s money?
Am I hiding God’s salvation as I utilize His gifts each day?
Am I an evangelist afraid to evangelize?
Am I a mentor unwilling to take the time to mentor?
These questions must be asked.
What deliberate steps must I take so that the gifts God worked into my life will now work out of my life for Him instead of me?
One deliberate step may snowball into incredible ministry---John Michael simply committed to disciple one student for two months.
You have so blessed me, over and over, and these blessings should flow through me to those you love. Help me to be deliberate and faithful.