For years the Western church has viewed Spiritual Gifts as something that an individual can Discover, Develop, and then Deploy. The church has not only been given to alliteration, but to reductionism. Classic to this approach was the development of a Spiritual Gifts surveys to help folks Discover their very own Spiritual Gift. Googling the phrase “discovering spiritual gifts” brought the results of 24,700 different places to find help on Discovering. The basic problem with this approach is that you can’t discover something as yours when it belongs to the Holy Spirit. Our language betrays that we believe that these gifts can be discovered because they are somehow latent in each Jesus follower. Another problem is that folks can end up confused by this process because the “gift surveys” are created around the definitions that the creator of the survey thinks a gift is. I would dare say that if you are in a non-charismatic church, you probably would not ever discover that you could prophesy or speak in tongues because the presupposition is that those gifts ceased to exist when the Bible came into existence.
A real problem that exists is that while God is flowing any number of gifts or, as I would rather call them, gracelets, through us on a daily basis, we don’t see what he is doing and, instead, handle the situation by simply damming the gracelets up thus producing what I like to call “ministry constipation.”
Some of the normal symptoms of physical constipation are:
- Infrequent bowel movements and/or difficulty having bowel movements.
- Swollen abdomen or abdominal pain.
One wonders how many followers of Jesus are suffering “ministry constipation” which follows some of the same symptoms:
- Infrequent ministry movement and/or difficulty having ministry movement.
- Swollen pain in the gut because of dammed up gracelets.
- Vomiting, i.e., blowing up at the most inappropriate time all over other followers of Jesus.
How many gracelets have you dammed up?