Living one day at a time works well for keeping yourself relaxed… Today for example, is my day (and many others’ too probably) to do the raking & mowing of the leaves, and get the Christmas lights out. But, being so relaxed makes it feel like I forgot…
Oh yeah! Tomorrow is the day we go to our first new church, and then our Small Group is coming here afterwards and we’re starting a new study, and then Monday I’ll do another run and then it’s time to finish up the Christmas baking and then Mom & Dad are coming; (*breathe*) and then Devon is coming for the weekend, and we have a memorial to go to on Saturday, and by then it’s time to be getting the tree up…. Whew! But it doesn’t matter that I suddenly don’t feel so relaxed, because I’m excited!
Better get these sermon notes down before they get lost! It’s almost as if the guy-who-puts-the-sermons-up heard me talking about wanting to listen to this one, ‘cos suddenly it was there. The one about “How to Discover Your Gift”.
So, I was right: Brian said right off, that Spiritual Gifts are different from natural abilities–the talents that you’re born with. Of course, both are from God, but the Spiritual Gifts are given to you when you become a Christian. He also pointed out that they are NOT the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), which are character qualities that God develops in everyone who is yielding to him day by day. I have seen people get that confused as well. And the third thing they are not is something he mentioned before: NOT just for the “elite”, or the especially saintly or whatever, but for ALL Christians–they just have to be developed/used in order for you to improve in your particular spiritual gift.
It’s interesting that, apparently, it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between a natural ability and a spiritual gift (depending on what it is), because often they line up. But not always, and Brian’s own experience was a good example: his natural ability was cartooning, which he expected to have a career in; but his “supernatural” ability was teaching–because it was not something he was very good at until after he became a Christian.
So to sum up, a Spiritual Gift is: “A special ability/energy/function given by the Holy Spirit (supernatural) to every member of Christ’s body according to God’s grace (he decides) for the ultimate purpose of building up/edifying the church.” (Brian) And of course, I already knew how to discover it: ask God, ask others, experiment (don’t be afraid to try something new), and evaluate (do you see results, feel rewarded, etc.). I also appreciated the reminder that you sometimes have to do things that are not your own gifting (jobs that need doing), and that you shouldn’t expect everyone to have the same passions that you do (how often do people seem to think we ALL should be praying as much as they do, or evangelizing as much as they do, etc.).
Last Sunday at the meeting, I saw a good example of someone “stepping up” to a job that she really didn’t feel gifted for, but it had to be done–she was still called to do it, for now.
One thing that always makes me think though, about these things: some of the Spiritual Gifts that not everyone has, are things like mercy, evangelism, faith, intercession… things that you might expect EVERY Christian to have. But I guess it means that some people are just extra-good at these things because of God’s gifting, even though we all should have faith, mercy, and be interceding, and be sharing the gospel, etc.
“Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people!” (1 Corinthians 12:7)