Read Psalm 37:23-31 Sir Isaac Newton, English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and inventor said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”. As a student of God’s Word, my work would be many times more difficult were it not for great men of God who dedicated their entire lives to the study of God’s Word and have left hundreds of Bible Study tools to help students like myself navigate the landscape of the Bible more time-efficiently. I cannot thank too highly Bible Gateway, Study Light, Robertson’s Word Studies, Professor Albert Barnes, Dr. Marvin R. Vincent, Dr. A. T. Robertson, Bible Study Tools, Dr. John Gill, Dr. Adam Clarke, Dr. E. W. Bullinger, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, and Dr. James Strong, to name but a few on the shortest list possible.
Finally it would be remiss of me not to mention our own beloved Google that God has converted into the most powerful and efficient Bible Concordance since the dawn of civilization. All you need is the slightest idea of the text, and Google will find it for you. To God be the glory.
But so far, everyone I have mentioned is from my perspective as a Bible student. My Christian parents, Evangelist Tom Skinner, Youth For Christ, ISCF, Back to the Bible Broadcast and Our Daily Bread Ministries, all were used by God at different times and in various ways to influence my life.
The point is that we all can identify people that have helped us in one way or another to become the person we are today. We all can see a little further because we are standing on the shoulders of giants.
But wait… is that the full picture? Can we also think of persons who we really would have preferred never to have met? Persons, of whom the best that we can say, is that today, we are what we are in spite of them. Today, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) We also know that Judas betrayed Christ and then hung himself. Judas was a part of God’s plan of salvation for us, but none of us would name our son “Judas”, or at least, I hope not.
So here is the real question. As we stand on the shoulders of giants, who is standing on our shoulders? Are we consciously broadening our shoulders so that others can stand on them? My shoulders may never be nearly as broad as the shoulders of the giants on which I stand. But by the grace of God, I must work to make my shoulders as broad as God intended them to be. The formula is simple.
God has given to every Believer in Jesus Christ spiritual giftings, talents and abilities (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). He has not given us these giftings so much for our own benefit, but for the benefit of others, and especially, members of the Body of Jesus Christ. Therefore the first thing we must do is discover the Gift that is in us. That is easy. It will be something at which you are not only good, but very good. Some may describe this as something that you are “naturally good at”.
Specifically as it relates to Spiritual Gifts, it will be directly or indirectly identified in the Word of God as a Spiritual Gift. It is not something that you have to toil over and work day and night and sweat profusely to acquire. It is a Gift of God, freely given as He chooses. One tell-tale sign is that in the context of the local Church, if you are the only person who believes that you have a particular Gift, then chances are, you do not.
The second step is to stir up the Gift that God has given you (2 Timothy 1:6-7). In the natural world, we say, “If you do not use it, you will lose it”. I do not know if that is Theologically sound. But I do know that a gift lying dormant cannot be as effective as a gift regularly used. We all know that “practice makes perfect.” I would be hard-pressed to believe that Billy Graham felt as comfortable in his first year as an Evangelist as he felt in his twentieth year.
I am a firm believer in the benefits of Bible School. By now most of us are enlightened to the point where we understand that going to Bible School or Theological Seminary does not replace the teaching ministry of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives. Commentaries and Dictionaries and original-language reference books do not replace the Bible. And in the final analysis, Scripture will always be the best commentary on Scripture.
The Founder of Our Daily Bread Ministries, formerly, Radio Bible Class, is Dr. Martin Ralph Dehaan. He had to study at University in order to practice medicine, and as a physician, he practiced well. In 1921 He was “born again of the Spirit” and in 1922 he sensed the call of God to leave his practice and to enter God’s Ministry. What did this learned medical doctor do? He immediately enrolled in Western Theological Seminary in Holland Michigan, and graduated in 1925.
Fortunately for us to day, any Christian who cannot afford to go to Bible School, but who can read and write, and who has access to the internet can acquire a Theological education from the comfort of their home. And for those who still don’t like the internet, there are hundreds of books and home study courses that can stand in for attendance at a Theological Seminary. And please do not forget, by the time Saul became the Apostle Paul, he had already attended the Theological Seminary of his day and had studied at the feet of Professor Gamaliel. (Acts 5:34, 22:3)
After discovering and stirring up the Gift that God has placed in you, the third and final step is one that does not end until death (Matthew 25:14-30). Exercise the Gift that God has given you with dedication and devotion and commitment and excellence. Spiritual Gifts are for the building up of the Body of Christ, and ultimately for the advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth. When we are diligently and prayerfully functioning in the areas of our Giftings and in accordance with God’s leading, others will be able to stand on our shoulders, and see farther.
In Psalm 37:23-31, David reminds us that ultimately we all stand on the shoulders of the giant of giants, Jesus Christ. Not only are His shoulders the broadest of all, but He provides us with His Holy Spirit who lives within us to provide us with on-board guidance.
“The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.” (Psalm 37:23-26)
Remember to visit RBC’s Our Daily Bread Devotional today at www.ODB.org