Church Write-Up: Ramblings on Spiritual Gifts

At church this morning, the sermon was about finding one’s spiritual gift and contributing to the church.

Here are some scattered thoughts:

A.  Yes, there are people who are good at particular things.  But there are also a lot of people who are just mediocre.  What’s my point here?  Well, it just seems that Christians who talk about spiritual gifts presume that every Christian excels at something.  I have my doubts about that.  Christians may excel, be good, or be mediocre about the something in question.  What if a person does not excel at anything?  The pastor did appear to be sensitive to this, on some level: he referred to Apollos as an example of someone who needed constructive criticism about his sermon delivery.  Actually, Apollos needed correction because his understanding was incomplete (Acts 18:26), but I appreciated the pastor’s point.  And I personally identified with what the pastor said about Apollos: what Apollos wanted to say sounded good in his head, but it came out not so good!  I’ve had my share of those experiences!

B.  The pastor was making spiritual gifts sounds rather dramatic.  He said that there are some things that God cannot accomplish without us personally.  And he was not referring to the entire church as a body, making the point that God needs the church as God’s hands and feet on earth.  He was saying that only I (and the other “I”s there) can do the specific task that God wants me to do—-that the specific task that God wants me to do cannot be done by anyone else.  Maybe there is something to that.  I don’t want to dismiss it completely.  At the same time, I think serving the church can entail doing low-key things that anyone can do.  What is important is service, right?

C.  I think that a lot of spiritual gifts tests are artificial.  Maybe they can help some people.  I am not sure if they help everyone.  Plus, not everyone may have the desire to use a gift in a congregational setting.  The pastor was talking about people finding what they are good at and what fulfills them, and using that gift in a church, but what if one finds that one finds fulfillment in doing things in solitude?  For instance, I enjoy reading books and blogging about them, and I believe that my reviews serve at least some people, even if I am not the most charismatic blogger or reviewer on the face of the earth.  Am I a “lazy Christian” because I seek to contribute outside of the four walls of the church?  I don’t think so.  Still, somewhere in my mind, I acknowledge the value of trying to serve the church in some capacity.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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