14Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. 15Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. 16Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
Paul’s exhortations boil down to the hidden “play on words” in the Greek: “Don’t be careless with your gift, be careful with it.”
Michael Jordan was a tremendously gifted basketball player, and he practiced and used his skills to win big games. If he chose to play video games instead, he would have wasted unbelievable opportunity.
A spiritual gift is far more powerful and important than athletic giftedness, for it produces salvation and spiritual growth in people.
We absorb ourselves in many things, from following sports teams with religious fervor to around-the-clock preoccupation with some hobby or project. We should apply the same diligence to the study of God’s word and consistent application of its principles.
As leaders, not only can we suffer regret in our lives, and in the life to come, but more regrettably, the people we lead we will be shortchanged.
As a body builder studies the ripples of his muscles in the mirror, watching closely for any signs of progress, so should we pay close attention to ourselves and our teaching.
Lives are at stake.