I remember watching a movie once, which depicted a family opening gifts together on Christmas Eve. They were circled around their Christmas tree, the kids eagerly tearing paper off of presents, carols playing in the background–you know, the quintessential holiday movie scene.
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. – Romans 12:6–8 (ESV)
As the husband passed out gifts to the children, the wife rummaged around the tree, as if looking for something specific. She finally found what she was looking for and held up a small box. She tore into it with a smile, clearly expecting to find that one thing for which she had been longing. However, upon removing the wrapping, she discovered that the gift was not what she thought it was. She was devastated and stepped from the room in disappointment.
Have you ever been disappointed with God because of a gift that you do not have?
Our last two blogs have examined different elements of spiritual giftedness. We have learned that each member of the body of Christ has been gifted in one way or another; we have also learned that God calls us to specific tasks that utilize our spiritual gifts. Yet it is vital that we embrace our different giftings within the body.
Each Christian has his or her unique, special mix of spiritual gifts. Part of our journey of discovering our gifts is discovering which gifts we don’t have. Christian A. Schwarz writes in his book The 3 Colors of Ministry, “Each time I discover a gift I don’t have is a cause to celebrate.” Why? Because narrowing down our gifts allows us to more clearly focus on the gifts we do possess and incorporate them into our ministry.
Additionally, when we become aware of the gifts we do–and don’t–possess, we learn to work more closely with other Christians who are “differently gifted.” Just as each part of the body must work together to function wholly, the body of Christ must do the same. Our personal gift mix makes us special, and thus we are able to serve the body in our own way.
My small group is hosted by a couple that has two young children. Each week, this couple joyfully opens up their home to our group, providing food, fellowship, and leading out in a meaningful Bible study-discussion; it is clear the Lord has given this couple the gift of hospitality.
There is another family in our group who also has small children, but the wife is fairly introverted; she simply cannot handle the thought of having people come to her home every week. However, she and her husband are gifted musically (a gift that the host couple does not have); this duo gladly leads the small group in praise and worship music each time they meet.
Is it bad that the host couple is not gifted musically and cannot lead out in music, as well as a Bible study? No! Is it bad that the musical couple does not open their home every week for small group? No! This is a simple example of how God gifts us each differently and then uses our unique gifts to benefit His kingdom.
If you feel discouraged because you are not gifted in a certain area, perhaps it is time to rewire your thinking. Focus on the gifts you do have and apply them according to God’s will to your ministry. Remember: “. . .each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another” (1 Corinthians 7:7, ESV).