Odd Gifts

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Love makes a Christian community grow, but gifts give that growth focus and direction. When the Lord ascended into Heaven, He gave gifts to men, and He did this for the edification of the church.

“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men . . . And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4: 8, 11–13).

The fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit must always be distinguished. At the same time, they must not ever be separated. God intends for them to function together.

Now of course, if you had to choose between a church of godly people and a church full of gifted people, you should choose the godly ones. It is better to go to Heaven in a chaotic column of refugees than to go to Hell organized. But just because the former is better than the other does not mean that it is God’s design.

Looking to set apart gifted and godly men is a challenge. This is because the judgment that someone is not gifted, when he believes he is, is a real test of charity. But even though it is a challenge, it is a necessary challenge. As we seek to grow the ministries we have, as we seek to plant churches, we see that testing gifts is one of the best ways to test fruit.

So as we grow in love, and as we weigh our gifts, we are given the opportunity to grow in two ways. The one who is eager to serve might learn that he is not as gifted as he thought, or in the ways that he thought. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3). And the person who has the gift of a critical eye, and sharp discernment, might learn that his standards are higher than God’s. God is the one who must give gifts, but He frequently does so in odd ways and in odd places.

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"A" dad
"A" dad
6 years ago

Well Doug, from seeing the lack of comments on this post, you may at least have achieved some version of “odd” with this post! ; – ) Though God may have granted some gifts by it. Could it be that your many respondants don’t see themselves as a bit “odd”? and hence did not comment? Now that is really odd! ; – )

doug sayers
6 years ago

True words, Doug. I have often wondered if the Gideon Principle should be normative in the Church. (Doing more with less). It seems we have a shortage of spiritually minded laymen and a surplus of Whitefield wannabes. Then again, my first church as a believer was a Brethren Church that got along quite well without a “full time man.”

Valerie (Kyriosity)
6 years ago

Another notable thing about the Ephesians passage is that God doesn’t just give gifts of enablings to men in the church, He gives gifts of enabled men to the church.