Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Moravian: Of Gifts and Grids

Watchword for this Week:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same
Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord.
1 Corinthians 12:4,5

When fitting into the grid becomes the goal, the grace of the Spirit's gifts challenge us. The gift that I have may not be the one that I wanted. Or, there may not be room for my gift to fully function. A combination of these concerns, complaints, and doubts could easily be underneath Paul's words here in Corinthians. As "basic" as we might think these words are, if we truly claimed and accepted our giftedness as from Holy Spirit, we would be different people.

Holy Spirit gives the vast array as the Lord, the Giver of Life, will. Instead of asking people to seek God in that giftedness, we often give them a form to fill out or a test to be scored. Pray about it maybe too. Thus, we classify people and call it equipping. We "plug people in," with all things neat & tidy.

In Quitting Church, Julia Duin suggests that many who feel they are spinning their wheels in our churches may be doing so because we have turned to inventories- and away from the Spirit- in discerning our true gifts. We then make "purpose driven" clergy and laity who fit the right containers. No wonder there's burn out! We spend our energy trying on the equipment of others and never bother to see which armor fits for ourselves. We then try to "purpose" or "re-purpose" others into roles that don't fit them either.

The God we worship doesn't live in schemes made by human hands. While some questionnaires may be more helpful than others, especially those that further more self awareness and acceptance than self -concern, all the surveys in the world do not replace the gift giving of the Holy Spirit received in prayer. The Lord is in the gift that the Spirit has willed for me and Christ's body, a gift that I first receive from God in prayer.

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