As music filled the church auditorium, color-blind artist Lance Brown stepped onstage. He stood in front of a large white canvas, with his back to the congregation and dipped his brush into black paint. With smooth swipes, he completed a cross. Stroke after stroke with brushes and his hands, this visual storyteller created images of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. He covered the large patches of the canvas with black paint and added blue and white to finish a now abstract painting in less than six minutes. He picked up the canvas, turned it upside down, and revealed a hidden image—a compassion-filled face—Jesus.
Brown said he’d been reluctant when a friend suggested he speed-paint during a church service. Yet he now travels internationally to lead people into worship as he paints and shares Christ with others.
The apostle Paul affirms the value and purpose of the diverse gifts God has dispersed to His people. Every member of His family is equipped to glorify the Lord and build others up in love (Romans 12:3–5). Paul encourages us to identify and use our gifts to edify others and point to Jesus, serving diligently and cheerfully (vv. 6–8).
God has given each of us spiritual gifts, talents, skills, and experiences to serve wholeheartedly behind the scenes or in the forefront. As we celebrate His creativity, He uses our uniqueness to spread the gospel and build up other believers in love.
Who can you encourage to use their God-given gifts to serve others? How will you do the same?
Romans 12 marks a turning point in Paul’s letter. Previously the apostle had been explaining the work of God in salvation, describing Jesus as the second Adam who came to redeem what had been lost through our first parents’ disobedience in Eden. Now he turns his attention to the way this salvation is to be lived out by those bought by Christ’s sacrifice. It starts with the redeemed becoming a “living sacrifice” (v. 1), whose focus is on being useful to God in the lives of others. This is followed by a list of spiritual gifts to equip God’s children in service to others (vv. 3–8). Another list of spiritual gifts appears in 1 Corinthians 12:7–11, and a list of leadership roles (gifts to the church) is found in Ephesians 4:11. Through these provisions, the Spirit enables us to be useful in our spiritual service.