Spiritual Gifts

January 20, 2011 § 7 Comments

I feel blessed to help lead my church’s Wednesday night ministry to fifth and sixth graders. They challenge me, they ask me hard questions, they drive me to my knees often (either that they know Him better or that they sit quietly for two seconds in a row so they can learn).

Anyway, last night we talked about Spiritual gifts and we gave them each a survey to help them discover their gifts.

I’ll be honest, I hate those tests. I detest figuring out if I 1-never 2-seldom 3-sometimes 4-often or 5-always feel or do something. I loathe the feeling that I want all the gifts and thus I want to write a 5 in one area when really I need to write a 2. Don’t get me wrong, I know these things are helpful. Yet I rebel and struggle against the labels, the boxes they put me in. Mostly I rebel against seeing the areas I am weakest in, the areas I need to ask God to help me be more like Jesus…

Yes that is green and blue icing smudged on the paper

Me and my attitude didn’t want to fill out the paper. I did fill it out. I filled it out because there are girls in the room struggling to figure out what “strong-willed” means. I filled it out because I am an example. I filled it out with my bad attitude self asking God to show me. Am I really doing what You have for me to do?

The seven categories were: Prophecy (Perceiver), Serving, Teaching, Exhortation (Encouragement), Giving, Leadership (Administration), and Mercy (Compassion).

Drum roll please…….

My top two were a tie:  Leadership (Administration) and Teaching
– No real surprise. God confirmed what I already have a passion for. I thanked God for that confirmation.

A close second was: Prophecy (Perceiver)
I like to think I am discerning. I got a bit squeamish here because once I think I am good at this whole discerning/perceiving thing, I sometimes try to do it without God. So prayed, Lord may I never lean on my own understanding…

What saddened me was the bottom two…Serving and Mercy
How can I lead without serving and how can I serve without mercy? I realize these are just areas I am not as gifted in. But God calls us to “love mercy” (Micah 6:8) and to servant leadership (Luke 22:26-27).

So I walked away from the dreaded Spiritual Gifts test encouraged and challenged.

Encouraged to keep teaching, keep leading, keep perceiving knowing these gifts are from God not me.
Challenged to serve as I teach, lead, and perceive.
Challenged to love mercy.

Not because I am gifted or because it is easy for me, but because God calls me to love mercy and to serve others.

This is the year of growth. I hear Him calling me to grow in mercy and service. Where is He calling you to grow? I would love to hear from you.

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§ 7 Responses to Spiritual Gifts

  • Hi Angela ~ I loved your post today. When I was a young Christian a sweet pastor once told me that the more we mature in our walk with the Lord, the more other gifts besides our primary begin to emerge from our lives because it’s evidence that we are walking in the fullness of the Spirit. I never forgot that.

    Knowing our spiritual gifts helps us walk in them well but doesn’t give us an excuse to neglect the others. 🙂

    • Hi Stephanie!

      So glad you stopped by today. I am glad my post touched you. Thank you for sharing those wise words from you heard as a young Christian.

      For me it is all evidence that God isn’t finished with me yet. I am so glad He doesn’t walk away and say, “I’m done!”

  • D2 says:

    Huh, Giving and Mercy were my lowest scores, while Teaching and Prophecy were my highest. It used to bother me alot more until I read 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

    7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

    The Holy Spirit has arranged the talents of the Body of Christ according to His perfect plan. Of course, we can work on our weaknesses, but acknowledging others’ strengths means acknowledging God’s sovereignty.

    Which, admittedly, is a difficult thing to do for Type A personalities like ourselves…

    • Daniel,

      God is giving me grace and working on me to not have to be the best at everything. For one He never made us to compete against each other. He made us to be like Christ. Also He made us all different. I just know that I can go one of two ways when I “figure” out my spiritual gifts. I either gloat that I am so great in certain areas forgetting my gifts are from God and pretending my gifts are somehow better than others. Or I can say I am so glad I don’t have the gift of mercy…It is too hard for me to have compassion for others. So I don’t have to try…

      Neither option is what God wants. Instead, He wants us to 1. Humbly accept and use the gifts He has given us… 2. Allow Him to more fully fill us so that our weakness start to look more like Him too. All through His grace and working in my life not something I can contrive of my own…

      • D2 says:

        I understand, Miss Angela. I have similar problems when I see so many holes in the church. But when God is asking “Isn’t less more?”, I have to reconsider. He’s telling me to do less, concentrate my talents and time to excel in specialized areas because I don’t possibly have the time to sharpen all of my gifts.

        You know what it reminds me of? I’m like a kid on Christmas who wants to play with all of his toys at once, thereby depriving me of the joy of spending time with each one carefully. Furthermore, I’ll likely get burned out on all my toys after a single day instead of appreciating them over time.

        On a “Godincidence” note, the Singles Connection Bible Study is doing the second chapter of James next week. I read through it this morning and came upon James 2:12-13.

        “12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

        I must confess that I tend to be am a rather judgmental person. Yet another character flaw to work out…

      • I think there is a difference in using our gifts for God and doing what He tells us to do. For instance the gifts of prophecy, leadership, and teaching God has clearing not called everyone to do…However serving, mercy, giving, and encouragement He calls us all to do. I am not saying add these things to the check list of religious to-do list. I am saying as we grow closer and closer to God His Spirit fills more and more of us. As more of His Spirit and less of me is working, then I look more like God. So no, I may not be gifted in mercy, serving, giving, or encouragement, but as God calls me to do these things regardless of my gifting, I need to allow God to grow me in those areas. I am finding the more I read His word, spend time in prayer, and grow closer to Him the more mercy and acts of service I want to do. God through His Spirit is changing me….

        I don’t want other people’s gifts. No I see Jesus in them and want to be more like Him. I don’t do the work of being more like Jesus, God does it in me. Make sense? It isn’t more I am doing, it is less. It is God who is doing the more through me.

        Besides I can serve while I lead in a servant attitude. As I teach my words can be drenched with mercy. Serve and mercy may not be my gifts, but God fills me with them so I can use my gifts in such a way as reflects His glory not my own. Make sense?

      • D2 says:

        Okay, that makes sense, allow Him to do more. It doesn’t make it much easier to cede control, though, I’m afraid. I’m working on it, though.

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