In the courtyard of a quaint little church in a French village stood a beautiful marble statue of Jesus with outstretched hands. One day during World War II, a bomb struck near the statue and mutilated it. After the battle was over and the enemy had passed through, the citizens of the village decided to find the pieces of their beloved statue and reconstruct it. Though the statue was no work of art by Michelangelo or Bernini, it was a part of their lives and they cherished it. Even the scars on the body added to its beauty. But there was one problem. They were unable to find the hands of the statue. “A Christ without hands is not Christ at all,” someone expressed in sorrow. “Hands with scars, yes. But what’s a Lord without hands? We need a new statue.”
Then someone else came along with another idea, and it prevailed. A brass plaque was attached at the base of the statue that read, “I have no hands but your hands.”
Some years later someone saw that inscription and wrote the following lines:
I have no hands but your hands to do my work today.
I have no feet but your feet to lead men on the way.
I have no tongue but your tongue to tell men how I died.
I have no help but your help to bring men to God’s side.
A spiritual gift is the primary channel by which the Holy Spirit can minister through the believer. Spiritual gifts are God’s provision for the Holy Spirit to minister to people, and through people (1 Corinthians 12:25). Spiritual gifts allow us to serve as “God’s hands.”
Stop and consider the importance of this definition, for only through spiritual gifts can Christians minister to others with the full power of the Holy Spirit:
The only hands God has are your hands.
One of the big obstacles in the church today is that we believe the church is supernatural in its origin, but not in its operation. When we experience a loss of power and effectiveness, it drives us to rely on human resources in an effort to correct the problem.
Early 20th century theologian and Dallas Theological Seminary founder Lewis Sperry Chafer writes, “The gift which is wrought by the Spirit is an expression of the Spirit’s own ability rather than the mere use of human qualities in the one through whom He works.” Spiritual gifts are God’s provision for the Holy Spirit to minister through the believer. The Holy Spirit uses these gifts to minister to others through you as well as to minister to you through other believers. The believer is not the source of ministry but only the instrument the Holy Spirit uses.
Remember, “The only hands God has are your hands.”
Dr. Larry Gilbert is founder and chairman of Ephesians Four Ministries, and founder of ChurchGrowth.org. For more on spiritual gifts, see Dr. Gilbert’s books: Team Ministry: Gifted to Serve (for pastors and group leaders) and Your Gifts: Discover God’s Unique Design for You (for individuals and groups).
This article is from the chapter “What is a Spiritual Gift?” which appears in these books…
Here are more free articles, one for each of the nine Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts…
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Shepherding?
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Administration?
Discover more about your spiritual gifts and each of the nine team gifts.
For individuals and groups.
Lead others to discover their spiritual gifts.
For pastors and group leaders.