Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Spiritual Gifts - Mercy

This is a series put together to examine the spiritual gifts discussed in Romans 12:3-8. The focus passage is as follows:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Definition: The gift of mercy is another gift that is vital to letting believers and non-believers alike see God’s love in action. These people have a special gift for seeing the needs of others and sympathizing or empathizing in a way that leads them to act to show them God’s love through action. They seem to know where the hurting person has been and see a way to meet the need and help alleviate the hurt. It can translate through physical, emotional, mental, spiritual or financial needs. They often serve in very undesirable circumstances but do so joyfully in order to help those in distress.

Jesus Models This Gift: Jesus often spoke of compassion and mercy (Matthew 5:7, Matthew 23:23) as well as demonstrated it—as with the adulterous woman. He wept for his friends when their brother had died. He taught about the Good Samaritan and showed the disciples that the children were important to Him when they tried to run them off.

Other Biblical examples of this Gift: We are all recipients of God’s mercy, which is greater than any other example imaginable. Dorcas demonstrated mercy as one of the foremost members of the first church (Acts 9:36). The prodigal son’s father was forgiving and compassionate when his son returned home. Joseph forgave his brothers in Egypt after they sold him into slavery. Zaccheus was moved to give back to those he had stolen from an exponential amount.

Strengths: These people serve the church by meeting real and tangible needs of others by living out loud and helping those in the name of Christ. They are sensitive and compassionate. They give without hesitation.

Pitfalls: Those with the gift of mercy often act without hesitation and therefore can be easily taken advantage of or seem entirely naïve.

Ideas of How to Work for God using this Gift: Visit sick or shut-in people. Listen to those with difficulties and provide counseling or just a shoulder to cry on. Work in a pantry or soup-kitchen environment. Serve as a foster parent.

Do You Have This Gift? (ref The Resurgence - Spiritual Gifts)

  • Do you find yourself being drawn to people who are needy, hurting, sick, disabled, or elderly?
  • Do you often think of ways to minister to those who are suffering?
  • Do you sense a great deal of compassion for people having personal and emotional problems?
  • Do you find that when you visit those who are suffering it brings you joy rather than depressing you?
  • Do you find yourself responding to people more out of compassion than judgment?

Summary: Like servants, these people are critical to non-believers coming to a relationship with Christ as often their example touches others to find out what Christianity is all about. And in the meantime, they make others’ lives just a little bit better.

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