Unique Gifts. Unique Path.
A lot of times I feel like our spiritual gifts are treated like we tend to treat sports. We evaluate them on some crazy non-sensical value scale that has no foundation in objective opinion.
For example, growing up I always used to hear people say that cheerleading wasn’t a “real” sport. And I’ve got to tell you, I could never understand that. Those men and women were flipping, lifting, and jumping around, doing stunts and all kinds of very physically demanding things. So why didn’t that count as a sport?
Some would argue that because cheerleaders weren’t running around on a court or a field competing against another team, and therefore that was the reason it didn’t count. However, what they were doing was physically demanding. It required discipline and hard work. And, they got scored at competitions.
But alas, cheerleading has often been deemed a less valuable sport, if it’s even considered a sport at all.
What does this have to do with spiritual gifts?
I bet that’s what you are thinking right about now, so let me explain.
Spiritual gifts, just like sports, are riddled with comparisons and “assessed values”. As a result, some gifts appear to be more valuable than others. And here’s where I have to cry “foul”!
I believe, and the Bible teaches, that each gift given to us is unique, and we are to use our unique gifts, given to us by the Holy Spirit, to be good stewards of God’s grace.
You see, the Holy Spirit doesn’t just give us any old gift… He gives us just the right gift to fit our unique past, personality, and experiences to equip us to fulfill the purpose that God designed us for. Each one of us is gifted in unique ways for a unique path and purpose.
You see, different people are built and designed for different things. So why should we hold back on doing stuff that we love to do and are good at because we think if we could just be good at something else then we would be more valuable.
Ditch the Doubt
I hear it all the time:
“What can I do? I can’t teach like her.”
“Oh I’m not important, I can’t get up and speak or lead worship.”
“I don’t know how to serve because I can’t do what they do.”
Or, my personal favorite: “I’m not gifted like they are.”
And the list goes on! So many people looking to the right or looking to the left, seeing the paths that other people are on, the things their spiritual brothers and sisters are doing, and they feel like what they have been gifted with, what they have to offer just isn’t enough.
This confuses me to no end!
1 Corinthians 12 talks all about spiritual gifts and the body of Christ. Different types of gifts all coming from the same Spirit, and all of them unique and necessary for the body of Christ to function fully. So let’s try and look at gifts like you would look at a body ok?
Throughout the Bible we are taught about spiritual gifts: Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, and 1 Peter. Below is a list of many of some the spiritual gifts mentioned throughout scripture.
- Exhortation (a.k.a. Encouragement)
Some of those gifts are front and center type gifts like pastoring, evangelism, leading, and teaching…
Others are quite the opposite, like mercy, serving, exhortation, and wisdom, which are more behind the scenes.
The way I see it is this though… Gifts that are out in the open, the ones that call you to do scary things like lead worship, teach others, lead others, or shepherd others. Maybe those gifts are like the hands, feet, face, and voice of the body of Christ.
And the gifts that call you to do the more humble less scary things, maybe those ones are like the heart, lungs, muscles, and brain of the body. Like mercy, wisdom, discernment, and exhortation.
Spiritual gifts are so different! Does that mean that your unique path with your unique gifts is more or less important than someone else’s?
My Gifts vs. Your Gifts
So which gift is more important then? Which one is most glorifying to God?
NONE OF THEM!
If you think that your gift of mercy, the ability to weep when others weep and accompany someone through their darkest days and hours, is somehow less important than your pastor’s gift of taking care of the people of the church, leading, teaching, and instructing them along the path of Christ. You are dead wrong!
That would be like telling someone that their heart wasn’t a necessary and vital part of their body. That they should be more concerned about their feet or their hands, because those parts of the body are what mattered.
How foolish is that!
How can hands and feet do what they do without the heart to supply them with blood and oxygen?!
I believe that we should drop the chains of comparison and pick up the empowerment of working together for a common purpose. To glorify our great and mighty God.
Following God and obeying Him should always be more important than what anyone else thinks about us and how He’s gifted us. It should also be more important than what WE think about how He’s gifted us.
We can admire each others’ gifts and talents without doubting and questioning our own.