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Thoughts on life by Teri McCarthy

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Moses and the Spiritual Gifts Inventory

Posted by admin in March 24th, 2010
Published in faith, obedience, prayer, Uncategorized

Have you ever taken one of those spiritual gifts inventories? You know the ones. You fill out the info and then it tells you what your spiritual gifts are? I think their purpose is to help followers of Christ plug into the local church. Ya think?

I was wondering what would have happened if they’d had those things in Moses’ day.

“Hey Moses, come over here and chisel out your answers on this piece of stone.”

Inventory taken. Results analyzed.

“Well, one thing we know for sure Moses, you’re definitely not a leader. Too much of a flee instinct and what’s with that temper?”

“Also, the results show you are not a public speaker. Thank you for taking the spiritual gifts inventory. Next?”

Well, scripture does tell us that Moses wasn’t a good public speaker, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent of speech, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Exodus 4:10, NRSV). Some folks, the really smart guys that study this stuff, say old Moses might have even had a speech impediment. Hmmmm.

So God chose Moses: a murderer, a runaway, a hot tempered guy who couldn’t speak, and a guy who argued with God! Yeah. Great leader there. But God chose Moses to lead the Hebrew Children out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. (I know, he didn’t make it, but still…God chose him).

Can you imagine if St. Paul took that spiritual gifts inventory?????

“Okay, what’s your name?” He’d have trouble right out of the chute.

“Well…my name was Saul, but now it’s Paul.”

“O-k-a-y. Profession?”

“Uh…well…I used to persecute and kill Christians, but now I am an Apostle.”

“Excuse me, we’ll tell you what you are Saul, err, uh, Paul. So, what do you like to do?”

“Church planting, preaching, discipling new believers, writing, and keeping others in line, administration, you know. Stuff like that.”

“Has anyone confirmed those gifts and callings in your life? Other church or community leaders?”

“Well, no, not really…you see…most of them don’t speak to me ’cause of that murdering Christians thing. You know.”

Can you imagine Paul’s spiritual inventory results?

Paul, like Moses, had a problem with the old temper. Not good for a church leader.

And what about that time that Paul reamed out ol’ Peter in public? Didn’t Paul know he shoulda taken Peter to the side and explained the errors of his ways “in private”? We have a public record of that little chew fest all these years later.

And Paul, what’s up with that “It’s my way or the highway” thing? Great mentor there Paul. Remember when he kicked out John called Mark and told him he couldn’t be his travel companion anymore? Discipling takes patience man. Didn’t anyone tell you that? John Mark was sent home and Barnabas decided he’d had enough and he and Paul split over that one (remember, John Mark was Barnie’s nephew). Hmmmm Paul. Is that really a good way to do church planting?

And don’t get me started on his being a writer. Have you seen this guy’s sentences?

Okay. Okay. I guess you see where I am going with this. Seriously, am I wrong?

Most of my life, in most circumstances, God has called me to do things I was absolutely not gifted for. In fact, He has chosen most of the time to use me in areas of my greatest weakness. Why? I think it’s that old “In my weakness He will show Himself strong” principle. And there’s that “no human will touch His glory” thing too.

If I had listened to spiritual gift inventories back in the day I would never have been a missionary, a teacher, or even a writer. God calls us outside our sense of gifting. Plain and simple. And for me one of the most deadly side effects of this type of inventory is that I hear people say all of the time, “Well, that’s just not my gifting.”

Really? ‘Cause Jesus didn’t ask us, “What’s your gift?” He actually told us, all of us who profess Him as Lord and are His followers to…feed the hungry, visit those in prison, share the good news, make disciples, love one another, give to the poor, take care of widows and orphans. Nowhere does Jesus tell us, “If that’s in your gifting inventory.”

Is it hard to share your faith? Yes. And for some it’s easier than for others, but that is never an excuse not to! Some are called to be evangelists. Some just have to share their testimonies, but all are called to share their faith with a lost and dying world. Period. Spiritual gifts inventory or no spiritual gifts inventory. It’s what Christ has told us to do.

A great example of ministering in our weaknesses is the story of Duncan Campbell. He preached every night for two years during the great Scottish Revival of Hebrides in the 1950s. Every night he’d get up and preach and God showed up and the Holy Spirit would fall on the congregation. People got saved and were being healed and marriages restored and wayward kids were coming home. It was miraculous! Even the livestock flourished and during those two years not one single ewe lost a lamb during that revival! And every night Duncan Campbell crawled into bed so heavy with depression and discouragement. The weight of glory was so heavy that he’d spend most of the day in bed until the next service when he’d drag himself out of bed, over to the church and prop himself up at the pulpit. Every night. Night after night. Because in our weaknesses God shows Himself strong. He uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.

I don’t like those spiritual gift inventories (really Teri, it doesn’t show). I guess it’s because I think it limits us. “Well I can’t do that because it’s not one of my spiritual gifts.” I think there are many times and many circumstances which God calls us to do things we aren’t exceptionally good at.

You know, in my opinion, the best way to find out what God wants you to do and where He is calling you to serve is a good old-fashioned, face-down-on-the-ground fasting and prayer time. “Jesus, I will not get up off this floor until I know what Your will is for my life. I won’t eat or rest or sleep until I know what it is You want for me to do. Here I am Lord…use me.” And God who is faithful moves into the hearts and minds of those yielded to Him and He does extraordinary things through ordinary (and sometime ungifted and untalented) people. Spiritual gift inventories are all about us. Seeking God’s face and moving out in faith in areas we don’t feel competent or comfortable are all about Him and His faithfulness to do in us what is necessary to accomplish His purposes in us and through us. Amen and peace.

3 users Responded In This Post

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365. pam said,
March 24th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Hi Teri…I found you through Kristin’s Facebook. Love this post…it fits nicely in my blown up box of what Christianity should be. :o) I realize that my rebellious challenge of the ways of “the church” today is also a box but it’s LARGER than my last box. So many rules and ways of men, the ways of the world still controlling the body of Christ today. Good stuff to ponder today.

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366. AngelaRose said,
March 25th, 2010 at 9:30 am

I’m sharing this with all my friends today…
I have always thought that those little quizzes were fun and informing….hmmmm…but I think you’re on to something –
I have often thought that the reason the youth get so much done is that they just don’t know yet that they CAN’T do it! 🙂

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451. lp said,
September 23rd, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Terri, Thanks for the article, you put the “spiritual test assessment” in the right biblical light.

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