“What gifts have you been given?”
I was asked that question some years ago by someone very special. I was referred to 1 Corinthians 12. A filling-up of the Holy Spirit. An indwelling of God the Father. An empty vessel revamped and refilled like a rechargeable battery. A walking talking spiritual dynamo. I became very excited. What super-powers were mine? How was I to save the world? The gifts on offer were impressive – even if they were not as comprehensive as I would have liked. The list of available options rather restrictive – but hey-ho: superheroes are superheroes. So I had a ferret through the bag on offer. Played with this one and that one. Found that none really came in my size. So I was urged to pray for guidance and discernment. I did.
Yet I never found the answer to that question. And I am not sure there is an answer for me. Maybe for others. As the years have passed it seems that me being me is good enough for both Him and me.
Speaking in tongues? Well my regional accent and way of seeing things seems to deliver that as far as others are concerned. “I don’t understand you, Paul … what did you say?” being a common response. Casting out demons? No idea what that is all about, yet walking without fear amongst some pretty scary peeps is now a way of life – does that count? Miraculous powers? Like Britain’s Got Talent: “work on that for the next audition – we need something really show-stopping from you.” Healing the sick? We have the good old NHS for that – that is where I go. And I am now finding that even the much touted “prayer power” and “prayer warriors” concept confuses me. As though God has this heavenly ”PrayerOmeter” we need to make go “WAPWAPWAP” before He delivers the list of goodies.
All in all it has been something of a let-down. Being indwelt and outflowed – and seemingly outflowing with nothing but questions rather than superhero gifts.
“Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money – not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.” Luke 9:1-6
And I wonder …
Whether we all get too caught up this superhero/superheroine gig. That we get too embroiled in labels – someone else’s labels. That we too often allow that to undermine who we each “really are” … what we each have really (already) been given … what power we each (already) have.
Because I have yet to see “dropping pebbles in a still pond” written anywhere as a “biblical/spiritual gift”. Yet more and more I sense He smiles when I accept and enjoy that “gift”. And I have yet to see being “a royal pain in the butt” described anywhere on that list of gifts. Yet He seems to have endowed me with more than my fair share of that ability. And yes – I do see Love described as the greatest gift of all. Now that I can buy into with delight and enthusiasm – yet it has taken many many years for the penny to drop even with something so obvious.
So I wonder …
How much do others struggle with the superpowers list of spiritual gifts? Seeking the “right” costume, the “right” attributes, the “right” persona to wear? Because maybe it is time to simply enjoy the relationship He desires and that we each seek. Time to leave this list of superpowers to Him. To allow Him to determine who, how and where it fits. Maybe it is time to simply say thank you for who and what we each already are. To appreciate who and what others already are. Time to stop pining for our own superhero costume.
Because isn’t that outfit and gig just something to impress others? To massage our own ego? And isn’t that telling Him that we know better? A sort of internal “LookAtMeOmeter” we try and make go WAPWAPWAP – loud enough for Him to deliver the goodies.
So I think I am finally done with that approach.
I think I accept and appreciate the gift of being a pain in the butt pebble dropper.
Yay Lord! Thank you! Now let’s make a few ripples for You to use in whatever way You see fit.