I was just reading a devotional that talked about how Joseph (as in the coat of many colors, not Jesus’ step-dad) was gifted by God in administration and his gifts were utilized, and it all ended up a pretty big deal. (For a brief example of Joseph’s success, click here but I recommend reading the book of Genesis from chapter 37 to the end.)
Spiritual gifting is a tricky concept. It’s not always agreed upon as to what constitutes a spiritual gift. Is a spiritual gift the same thing as a natural talent, even if it’s something that doesn’t seem spiritual? I have a natural gift as a singer. I’ve been singing all my life. Is that a spiritual gift?
I recently did an assessment of my spiritual gifts (not a terribly in-depth one, but there were over 100 questions) and it placed Music as my number one spiritual gift. So what does that mean? How does one utilize a gift of music? Especially when that someone is hard of hearing? I have no gift instrumentally. I can play the guitar a little but I have bad dexterity and can’t do any F- or B-chord to save my life. When I was much younger I was able to teach myself the piano (I’ve often thought that if we’d had a piano when I was growing up, I’d know how to play it) but I can’t do it anymore. So all I have is singing. And that’s hard to do these days because I have troubles with my hearing (it’s not exactly that my ears aren’t working – it seems more like my brain doesn’t want to process sound properly; although, there are some frequencies that I am deaf to).
My other spiritual gifts, at least the ones in that assessment I did, are even harder to see how to utilize.
The assessment I did had you list the 3 most dominant ones according to their score. The highest score was Music. The next highest was Mercy, and this one I had to look up because I didn’t understand what it meant. Mercy was described as “the ability to feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals who suffer distressing physical, mental, or emotional problems, and to translate that compassion into cheerfully-done deeds which reflect Christ’s love and alleviate the sufferings as well as motivate others to help (Matthew 9:35-36; Mark 9:41; 1Thessalonians 5:14). “*
Does that sound like me? I guess it does. I love to help people with their problems, I cry with other people’s pain (that’s why I can’t watch World Vision programs – they tear the heart out of me). I hurt when others hurt and I love nothing more than to put a smile on a hurting persons face. But do I get the opportunity to do this type of thing? Not really. I lived so hermit-like for such a long time that I still don’t really know people and no one that I know now, knows me well enough that they want to come to me with their pain. Volunteering is hard to do too because they always require a commitment of time that I’m not certain I can always make – I have my family to look after. I sometimes think I should go into nursing, but with the physical limitations I’ve had for so long, I don’t see how I could.
The third most dominant was a tie of three different, yet similar gifts: Discernment, Exhortation, & Wisdom. The definitions are as follows:
DISCERNMENT: The ability to know with assurance whether certain behavior purported to be of God is in reality divine, human, or satanic. The purpose of this gift is to prevent confusion and false teaching from infiltrating the church (Matthew 16:21-23; Acts 5:1-11; Acts 16:16-18; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 John 4:1-6).
EXORTATION: The ability to minister words of encouragement, consolation, comfort, and motivation from God’s Word to help others complete their tasks and be all that God want them to be (Acts 4:32-37; 14:22; Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:13; Hebrews 10:24.25).
WISDOM: The ability to apply spiritual truth to a specific issue in a specifically relevant fashion, and to make proper choices in difficult situations, based on listening and sufficient information (Acts 6:3,10; 1 Corinthians 2:1-13; 12:8; James 1:5; 2 Peter 3:15). **
Now do these sound like me? Well, it comes as a surprise to me too, but yes. They apply to me when I am strong in my walk with God. I know of many specific time when I used these gifts in the past. I haven’t used them much recently because of the struggles I’ve been going through – but I realize now that these bumps in my road are the only way God can teach me what He’s trying to teach me. (I wish I wasn’t so hard-headed; then maybe He could teach me things in a much gentler fashion.)
But, we’re back to how do I use these gifts? Like I said, people don’t come to me with their problems, seek me out for encouragement or ask my advice on anything. And it seems, at least to me, like I have no business offering it to anyone. (I once, quite recently, was given a vision of two separate churches and how God was moving in them. I told both pastors about it, but I don’t think, not that I really know, that they listened to me or thought what I said had any merit.)
I kept myself hidden from everyone for so long, but discovered how destructive that is. So I have been trying to be open and vulnerable. Maybe I’m doing that too much, leaving myself open to judgement so people don’t trust me or something.
I don’t know.
I guess I have to leave it in God’s hands. He wouldn’t have gifted me this way if He didn’t want me to use them. Perhaps I’m at another waiting-on-the-Lord point in my life. I’m not a fan of these – patience has never been my virtue. But God also led me to do the Hidden Joy bible study I’m posting about too. Maybe it’s more about working on Sharon before Sharon can help anyone else. Maybe that’s what it is.
Well, I will try to be patient, or rather, I will pray for patience, and see what God has in store for me.
What do you think about spiritual gifts?