In my previous post (“How has God gifted you by his Spirit? (Part 1)“), I suggested that God empowers and equips his people by his Holy Spirit in many different ways. At times and for some people, God may choose to work primarily in one way – a way that may be considered that person’s “spiritual gift.” However, as we see in several examples in Scripture, God works through different people in different ways at different times and in different situations – i.e., different spiritual gifts.
When considering spiritual gifts, there is a danger. That danger is fixating on a specific spiritual gift. This kind of fixation (even with good intentions) can hinder the work that God desires to do through someone, and it can affect the relationships between God’s children.
First, fixating on a specific gift can hinder the work that God desire to do through someone because that person may not expect God to work through them in a certain way. Why? Because the person assumes that God will only work through them within that “spiritual gift.”
For example, consider a person that is “gifted” as a teacher. At times, God may choose to work through that same person to serve others or to prophesy or to work miracles. But, if the “teacher” only expects God to use her to teach others, then she may not follow what God is telling her to do. She’s not disobeying God because she desires to disobey; she’s disobeying because she has fixated on her particular spiritual gift.
Second, fixating on a specific gift can hinder relationships with God’s people. The person “gifted” as a servant not only loves to serve, he also tends to assume that God wants everyone to serve in the same way that he serves. When his gift is his focus, then that gift becomes important for everyone.
Obviously, when this happens, friction and discord build among God’s people. Or, if the gifted person is also given a position of authority over others, the others tend to adjust their own service to match their leader’s “gifting.”
Just as God extends people’s hearts differently (see my post “How far does your heart extend?“), he gifts them and works through them differently in whatever realm he places them. This should be expected, both in our own life and in the lives of others.
These differences are meant to be both embraced and celebrated! We should rejoice when God directs someone to serve people in a different realm than us or in a different manner than us. This simply demonstrates the myriad grace of God.
Besides extending our hearts to people in different regions and gifting us in different ways, God also gives us all different opportunities and passions. I’ll examine these differences next…