Why talk about spiritual gifts?
For the month of August, we are going to talk about spiritual gifts. We will answer several questions about them, questions like: What are spiritual gifts? How do I know if I have them? How can I use them? Are these gifts static? All of these are important questions that I believe we need to spend time thinking about. A question that I want to consider with all of you in this blog is: why talk about spiritual gifts? I think there are several reasons.
First, it helps to talk about spiritual gifts because each of us come from a very different background and may have very different views on what spiritual gifts are. Some of us grew up in churches that talked very little about the Holy Spirit and in turn, very little about spiritual gifts. Others were raised in churches that had a very strong emphasis on them, both in healthy and unhealthy sorts of ways. Studying them together gives us a chance to have a common starting place to begin our discussion and learn from each other.
The second reason comes out of that first reason. Many of us grew up in settings that taught a very narrow view of spiritual gifts. In my personal story, I had an understanding that having the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues was the pinnacle of spiritual gifts. You knew someone was a mature christian if they spoke in tongues. I struggled with this for many years, because that is not a gift I have ever had. I came to believe that I was less of a Christian because of that. As I grew up and did more study, I learned that there are many gifts of the Spirit, including: preaching, teaching, healing, helping, administration or organization, speaking in tongues or languages. All of these are equal in what they can do to build up the church. One should not be held as a greater sign of maturity than the others. So, I hope that as we talk about them, we can dispel some of these misconceptions.
A third reason comes from a desire that stems from my own personal gift set. I am an encourager and helper (a 2 if you speak enneagram). Because of that, I have a passion for encouraging people to grow and develop and to give themselves the full amount of credit. I believe many of us can underestimate ourselves because we don’t have one of the “flashier” gifts like musical talent or public speaking ability. Why should we let the size of our spotlight determine the value of our gifts? There are so many of us that have wonderful gifts that can make a difference in our church and community. Let’s not sell ourselves short just because we are not on stage.
Finally, I want to share some resources that you can use to identify your spiritual gifts and develop them. Some of us are very familiar with spiritual gift surveys, personality tests like the Enneagram, concepts such as Emotional Intelligence; some of us might not be. Knowing our gifting is a great start; we also need to learn how to develop our gifts, and maybe even add an additional piece to our toolbox.
I hope to see you as we begin this new series!