Enjoy God’s Gifts While They Are Among You
Guest Blog: Bishop Ronnie Shaw, PhD
The Bible speaks in Ephesians of the gifts God has given to the Church in the area of the five-fold ministry. The Apostle Paul listed them as: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:11). These gifts will always be available to the Church until the Lord’s return, however, I do not believe there are as many apostles and prophets as there are those who claim to be.
We have people new to ministry, some in their early 20’s and younger claiming to be a prophet or an apostle, yet barely have enough people in attendance on Sunday to pay the financial obligations of their Church. When Paul listed the gifts in Eph. 4:11, he listed them in order as given to him by the Holy Spirit. Using proper hermeneutical procedures, the “law of first mention” would apply. That means apostles and prophets are the head of the gifts, and as such, must be seasoned statesmen of the Gospel and in their spiritual relationship.
God Does Not Call Novices into Apostolic or Prophetic Ministry
Anytime someone provides an interpretation contradictory to how Scripture has already interpreted itself, it borders on heresy. For instance, God is not going to call and anoint a novice into areas of ministry of this magnitude. Scripture declares that we are to lay hands on no man suddenly (1 Tim. 5:22). Elisha served Elijah for about 12 years, doing nothing but caring for his day-to-day needs, before his promotion to succeed Elijah. Joseph faithfully served a slave owner and a prison warden for about 13 or more years before his promotion to second in command of Egypt. At forty years of age, Moses was not seasoned enough and had to serve his father-in-law for forty more years, tending to his sheep. Jesus was born into this world as the Savior (Luke 2:11), but could not begin that ministry until faithfully serving his earthly father and mother for 30 years, and then being acknowledged as the Savior by the top spiritual person on the planet at the time, John the Baptist.
Until you faithfully serve and be recognized by those above you, sit down and wait your turn. If you are who you claim to be, God will find you when it is time, just as he did David when Samuel arrived to anoint him as king.
There Are Some Genuine, Anointed Apostles and Prophets
Last Thursday a real Prophet of God came to the end of his course in this life. Prophet Robert Mitchell was recognized as a real Prophet in more than 70 nations and five continents. I had the privilege to travel with him. I watched as kings and presidents of nations allowed him access without appointments and listened intently to every prophetic word his spoke over their lives.
I watched him travel into his 80’s across the world to salvage preachers and churches, only to have some (many of these were “gospel superstars”) prostitute his anointing and abuse his gifting. He gave everything he had for world missions, to save souls at home and abroad, and to help struggling preachers, only to die in excruciating pain and financially destitute. He believed that God would reward him in the grand scheme of things.
When there is a real, genuine gift of Apostle or Prophet among or connected to you, you should do everything in your power to honor and bless that gift. Let me inject a word of caution: A real Apostle or Prophet will not abuse someone’s generosity—they usually sow back to those they are helping, much more than what is given to them. You do not have to be afraid or apprehensive about giving your all to a true Prophet or Apostle. The real ones always want what is best for you, and demonstrate it by their actions (not their flowery words or the act they put on in your presence).
In the parable of the talents, Jesus asked accountability from all three to whom had been given. All were accountable except the last one. When the Master said, “What have you done with what I gave you?” the man replied, “I buried it.” If there is or has ever been a real Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, or Teacher connected to your life, one day God will ask you, “What did you do with the gift I gave you?”
How to Tell if They Are Real
The real Apostles and Prophets care for others ahead of themselves. Jesus, the Disciples, and others did what they had to, to help others. Yes, they allowed others to bless them, but the motive was not for their benefit, but as an instrument to bring about immediate blessing to those they were trying to help.
Look at their life when they think they are alone. If it is only about them, they are probably not the real deal.
We Honor True Gifts
For more than 78 years Chitwood & Chitwood has been honoring those in ministry. We fly around the nation helping Pastors and Churches stay in compliance, and providing them Church Management assistance, to remove or lighten the stress of ministry. We have invested millions to make it easier for Pastors and Ministers to fulfill the call God has placed upon their lives.
Unfortunately, our culture demands that we send gifts and flowers to show our love and appreciation when the individual has died, when we should have been honoring them while they were living, toiling in the Master’s vineyard. Enjoy the gift God has allowed entrance into your life while you can—not once it is too late.
For Prophet Mitchell and the countless other gifts to the Body of Christ who have fought or are fighting the good fight and has kept or keeping the faith, we will continue to do everything possible to honor the Gift of God.