Spiritual Gifts

Among different denominations and even different individual churches, the topic of spiritual gifts is dealt with in different ways. Sometimes it is front and centre, with even Sunday school children doing personal inventories to find out their own spiritual gifts, while other churches may never really delve into it and people can spend their whole life without ever feeling comfortable to say they have or don’t have certain spiritual gifts.

I spent time with a friend of mine this weekend, and we were talking about some difficult things she is going through and struggling with, and she said “I’m so glad that God has given me the ability to do art because it seems like the only way to deal with these things that doesn’t hurt me.” She is a fantastic artist and certainly gifted, and the way that she put it reminded me that God’s gifts to us are not just hobbies on a checklist or ways that we prefer to get involved at church – they are gifts. Presents. For us to enjoy and often times to share with others, but so often it seems to me that we skip the enjoyment, or we leave it out of the equation when we are trying to discern what exactly God has given us.

If you think about a really amazing gift that you have ever received, chances are its awesomeness rippled out to affect other people than just you, and I suggest it goes the same way with spiritual gifts from God. Being good at something doesn’t mean its your gift – if you can organize a chaotic office in 20 minutes but it doubles your blood pressure to do it, I wouldn’t say that’s a gift from God; if you are a great Sunday School teacher, but corporate prayer is what really makes your heart come alive, you really shouldn’t neglect one for the other. As a body, the church is called to live and serve in a variety of ways, all in submission to Jesus so that he can make it all meaningful. We won’t always get to serve according to our gifts, but we must not make the mistake of assuming that God has nothing more for us than what we’ve always done.

And most of all, let’s remember not to over-spiritualize the gifts God gives us by turning them into obligations and duties!

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