I’ve always thought it amazing how our society glorifies the quarterback but completely misses the water boy. The hero has no heroics without a supporting cast. If a team achieves victory it is the result of teamwork. In this context we should understand the value, function and place of spiritual gifts.
First, none of us has any right to feel special because of giftedness. Gifts are not a reflection of a superior brain, talented genes or advanced motor skills. Spiritual gifts are from the Holy Spirit and they represent the grace He bestows (Romans 12:6, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Ephesians 4:7). Therefore, the operative attitude that should accompany the exercise of any gift is humility for grace is a blessing we don’t deserve.
Second, Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote, “we have different gifts” (Romans 12:6). Different means not the same and that ought to be a clue to us (1 Co.12:4, 28-30) into God’s thinking. Those who constantly advocate one gift are not only unbalanced but also guilty of playing junior holy spirits. For example, to insist that believers must speak in tongues in order to be saved or to prove they have the Holy Spirit is not only bad hermeneutics (the science and methodology of interpreting Biblical texts), but also cultish. We may desire certain gifts but our focus should be on the Giver and not on the gifts. The former produces peace, humility and contentment. The latter invites judging, sparks dissension and fosters a have, have-not mentality.
Third, the exercising of our gifts is never one-dimensional. Attitude and attributes accompany gifts and determine their efficacy. For example, prophesying requires faith, mercy necessitates cheerfulness and without diligence leadership is as effective as a microwave oven with only 30 seconds of electricity (Rom. 12:6-8).
Fourth, gifts are operative under the authority and strategy of the Holy Spirit. “A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:. . . But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills” (1 Co.12:7,11). We don’t need to get tangled up in fights over whether gifting is permanent for a person or changes. What matters is that the Holy Spirit is in charge and He will do what He deems best for the body.
Fifth, the purpose of gifts is “ for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness”(Eph. 4:12,13). Spiritual gifts are not to cause division, pride or the mistaken notion that we are indispensable.
When we employ our spiritual gifts in obedience to the Holy Spirit, the world sees grace at work and the results make fantastic seem like a lame adjective . . . something to think about . . . in reveration!
. . . the only sign that a particular gift comes from the risen Christ is that it edifies the church. Nothing else is of any account; no flights of imagination, nor spiritual fancies, only one thing is of account, namely, the building up of men and women in the knowledge of the Lord.—Oswald Chambers in He Shall Glorify Me
©2007 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)