I was thinking about spiritual gifts. When I was in church I would wonder about this and other issues, but never had anyone to have an honest discussion with. Just those blank looks. I was wondering if anyone else ever had any questions about spiritual gifts.
Image by utt73 via FlickrI was so excited when I first became a xtian and heard that god gave us these great gifts to allow us to serve in his church and do his will. I was waiting to see what would happen. I used to love to take those spiritual gift tests. I went to many spiritual gifts classes with these books explaining what all the gifts were, and then there was this great test in the book for us to take that would help us in figuring out this great mystery! Yes, I've always loved tests, especially personality tests! What will I learn about myself, what great secrets will I discover, what does god have planned for me!
So I would eagerly take these tests. Naturally I took many over the years. Since I was only 25 when I became a born againer, I didn't really have much chance to find out what my strengths were. I wasn't exposed to anything that would allow me to stretch myself, and try new things.
Well, the same gifts would show up over and over, unless I fudged the answers, which I would do later on just for fun!
This is what my test told me my gifts from god were. In order: Helps, encouragement, administration. In some more "liberal" tests, artistic something or other was there. Giving only when I was tithing. The bottom of the list? Teaching, hospitality, shepherding, mercy. We didn't do the "gifts of the spirit" since these were baptist churches. When we did a personality test by colors I was: blue, green, with a touch of red. Very slight yellow. Background person, laid back, likes to organize stuff, doesn't like large groups. Or the basic test, melancholy, phlegmatic, touch of choleric, very slight sanguine.
I thought this was a great affirmation from god that I had the gifts that I already had and was using! Wow! I was on the right track. Helps, of course, was always number one, even when I tried to "fudge" the test! Couldn't get rid of it. I called it the napkin folding, garbage dumping gift, since that was the gist of the whole thing. I was always busy in the background doing all the little things that had to be done. I hated to be in the limelight. Never wanted to be in front of people. I'm an introvert. I enjoyed talking to people going through a rough time, and trying to help them in some way. I love to organize stuff! Great fun!
So, I have this gift. Now, there are degrees of gifts. Yes there are! Even though the church will tell you that all are equal in gods eyes, not so in the church! Look how they are listed, shepherding down to helps and all those "loser" gifts! One time in church, there was some kind of speaker who actually said this out loud. He said all were equal in gods eyes in the church from the pastor down to the custodian. Well, I was the custodian. From shepherding to helps. Not that your already crapped on as a custodian, but this guy had to actually say it out loud. Wow, was I mad. Of course when bringing this comment up to others, I was told that I was wrong, he was just talking about jobs in the church, right.
Over the years, as I got older and more involved in things outside the church, I found that I did the same things there too! Helping out, in the background, doing any crafty work. At some point I began to wonder why was that? Why were my gifts in the church the same at home, helping out at school functions, etc. And, why were my gifts an extension of my own personality? What came first my personality, or my gifts? Did god give them out at birth? The whole thing started to make me question.
This was my biggest question. How was taking my basic personality and using what I always do, and using it in the church, a sign that what I'm doing is a spiritual gift given to me at conversion? A true sign of that would be to have given me an upfront gift, like teaching, or hospitality. That would have been outside of myself. Wouldn't it make more sense that at the moment we step into church on Sunday morning, our god fill us with his spiritual gift for us, and we become what we are not normally? My husband, a type A, 20 year Air Force guy, always tested administration number one, helps second, mercy last. Now wouldn't it be a great testimony if he came to church and had the gift of mercy? Going around giving people hugs, and asking them how they feel? Instead, our gifts seemed to have the feel that they are not really from god, but just parts of ourselves, that the church uses to it's own good. Wouldn't it have been logical that when there was a need in a church, god would change our gifts to fill this void?
The whole thing never did make much sense to me. Any thoughts?