Spiritual Gifts - the Bad

I hesitate to use the term "bad" in referring to the "bottom 5" on my most recent Spiritual Gifts Assessment.  These aren't bad gifts, because the Holy Spirit does not give "bad" gifts, and it's not that I'm a bad person because these are at the bottom of list.  Being at the bottom of the list simply reveals that these are particular spiritual gifts that I do not posses. However, while these are not areas in which I am gifted by God's spirit to bring Him glory and edify the church, these areas are still, most definitely, my responsibility.  This just helps to define strengths and weaknesses, which we all have.  So below would be a list of spiritual gifts that I do not have, or a partial list of areas in which I am personally weakest.

So, this list begins with a tie, making my list of five actually six.  When I talk about my weaknesses, I go all out!  Hahaa!  Discernment is the ability to intuitively know truth from error when someone is speaking.  I tend to pick up a lot about someone's body language and can tell when they may not be completely honest, but I also tend to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  I trust someone who claims to follow Jesus to be completely honest and not manipulate people and situations.  Unfortunately, I really do get burned a lot because I tend to trust that people who claim to be Christians to actually behave like a Christ-follower.  This is why it is of utmost importance that I surround myself with those who do have the gift of discernment.

Encouragement is one of the surprises on my SG Assessment.  Previously, I have scored higher in having the spiritual gift of encouragement.  Actually, if you ask just about anyone, they would likely tell you that I am definitely an encourager.  Perhaps this is one of those things that is a part of my personality, but not necessarily a spiritual gift?

Interesting, this one.  I enjoy having company, because I certainly get energized by connecting.  We host a bi-weekly Community Group in our home, and open our doors on various special occasions to have people over.  But that is not the same as "our door is always open."  In my first 5 1/2 years in ministry, as a youth pastor, I certainly had this "our door is always open" policy, and I was never able to separate where the "job" of being a pastor ended and the "job" of being a husband and father began.  Some would argue that a pastor should always have their home available to anyone and everyone, at all times.  That argument would come from one of two places: (1) someone who has the spiritual gift of hospitality and is projecting their gifted area onto others or (2) someone who has bought into a very unrealistic view of a pastor.  Meanwhile, I will keep using our home as a "gathering place" when appropriate and as a "personal retreat" when appropriate.

All Christians are to be servants.  You cannot possibly read the New Testament, and the teachings of Jesus, and not come to this conclusion. To follow Jesus Messiah is to serve Him and others.  However, as a spiritual gift, this is where someone is specifically gifted for "behind the scenes" work, and those jobs which may be labeled as "dirty jobs." I do some of this because either I do it or it doesn't get done, which leaves me with having to evaluate the importance of some areas as to whether they get done or not.. or I find myself not wanting to ask someone else to do something I'm not willing to do.  God had hard-wired me to be a big idea guy; a "let's do this" guy, not so much to see all the details that need to happen to make it a reality.  This is why I am so into working as a team when it comes to this church ministry thing.

Again, I do give. My family tithes.  We give to special needs.  Just yesterday, we brought our tithe into God's storehouse, gave to a special mission experience, and filled up the gas tank of a friend.  So, it's not like I feel like I can say, "Well, I don't have the spiritual gift of giving financially, so I don't have to give."  Sharing what we have is a Christian ethic and responsibility, even when giving financially is not a spiritual gift!  I think when this is a spiritual gift, you are on automatic pilot, looking for who and where to give your resources away to.  Tithing aside, a need has to be brought to my full attention, and the Holy Spirit has to almost knock me over sometimes, in order to see, and give to, a need.  Again, a part of this is how God has hard-wired me.  I am motivated highly by personal growth and fulfillment, and hardly ever think in financial terms at all.

I just looked over the results of my Spiritual Gifts Assessments from the past 4 years, and mercy is consistently at the very bottom.  I once joked to some fellow pastors, "I don't have the gift of mercy... and I don't even care."  See, that's funny because mercy is caring and feeling for others on an intensely deep level.  The truth is, I do care.  I care enough to bring people around me with the gift of mercy, to extend the mercy and compassion that is needed on appropriate occasions.  I care enough to ask these with the mercy gift to tell me when someone needs a call or a visit from me.  If I didn't care, I would never emerge from the Teaching/Leading/Mission zone!  So, THANK YOU to everyone who says "YES!" to the Holy Spirit's gifting and guidance to form one body working together to make the Name of Jesus more famous!


I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for sharing. Annie Dennis Eskridge, author of Sin Abides...The one about mercy and giving should be posted on facebook.

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