Words by Colonel Jostein Nielsen.
When I am teaching on the subject of spiritual gifts, I have on rare occasion used questionnaires which are created to help people to find their gifting. The reason why it has become rare, is that I think that their usefulness is limited. The questionnaires are good because they demystify the subject; and they are good because they contribute to keeping a focus on an important resource available for all Christians.
However, I am afraid that they can limit the Spirit’s work in and through us by focus on “What is your spiritual gift?” Because is a spiritual gift really my gift?
Yes, I know that Peter said to the lame man:
“Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
But I am convinced that Peter did not consider it to be his gift. He was 100% dependent on the Spirit.
When people ask me if I have any spiritual gift, I prefer to answer “No”. Because even though people have been healed as a result of prayer, it has nothing to do with me. If it had, it should have happened every time I prayed for healing. Spiritual gifts belong to the Spirit.
Paul saw several people healed when he prayed for them, but I am sure even he many times did not see the result he wanted – I am sure he had prayed for Timothy’s stomach trouble without success (1). He had also health issues himself(2) – and even though I believe his ‘thorn in the flesh’ refers to persecution, his prayers were answered with: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (3)
PauI prophesied, but even so, he was aware of the limitations:
We know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end.
1 Cor 13:9-10
The perfect is yet to come, but that did not stop Paul, nor should it stop us searching for the gifts, because:
‘Manna’ for today:
The Spirit is perfect, and it is in him we move.
(1) 1 Timothy 5:23
(2) Galatians 4:13-15
(3) 2 Corinthians 12:9