“Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts.”
~1 Corinthians 12:29-31 (NIV).
The very next verses that come from the Apostle Paul’s pen are some of the most famous in biblical history. They are, of course, the thirteen verses of Paul’s brief excursus to love—the true love that underpins all our Christlike action... the delineation to Christ of our gifts.
Truly, however, we’re caught up in all manner of whirlwind to our egos most especially for our gifts. It’s our human nature.
We get so excited by them. How God has blessed us in these. But it is Satan’s ploy to get us stuck in the thinking of separating out the gift from the greater gift, which is love—that is to use the gift morally, nobly, in sacrificial love, and certainly without recourse to the massaging of our egos.
Taking the Gifts Too Far
It’s the enemy, and certainly our encroaching desire, not to mention the clamour of the brightly lit world, that gets us warping our reality and stretching that elastic band of our God-willed use of the gifts beyond their capacity. We need to be constantly on guard to this.
Now, there’s a key difference between growing our gifts within, and to the extent of, the plans that God has for their growth, and going clear ahead of God. Only we can answer God in all good conscience, and we should still seek the counsel of trusted advisors in this too. We do need to be ready to answer God in these matters.
Wise Use of the Gifts of God
Everyone has gifts of God. Not one is born without. It’s our matter to determine what these gifts look like and how they’re comprised, to the goal of being happy with our gifts just as they’re presented to us. Our gifts truly help us understand our identity, but again without the essence of God’s love throbbing away inside us the gifts are meaningless. We’d be like parentless orphans—the gifts serving no logical and meaningful purpose whatsoever.
Now the use of the gifts; this is simply a reminder of a basic biblical exhortation... ‘Do not put the cart before the horse’.
The wise servant of the Lord appreciates the gifts they’re given and they understand they are to be used humbly, for God’s greater good, and always within the construct of the broader continuum of love.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.