SPIRITUAL GIFTS AND HEAVY PRICE TAGS
Now Joseph was governor over the land. He was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. Genesis 42:6
How fun it is to be a child and have a dream that someday everyone will bow down to me. It’s hedonistic to picture it coming to pass. Power such as this is an opiate for a kid.
Joseph’s dream was from God but the way he perceived it might happen was not; it would take many years. Joseph needed the maturity to handle spiritual power and his brothers needed the humility brought about by years of failure and hardship.
Spiritual gifts are wonderful things but my flesh quickly skews how they should be used. I don’t realize that I’m to exercise my gifts as Jesus would if He lived through me. Instead, I am self-centered as I use them only to feel good. I am a young Joseph. I am wide-eyed and immature, unwilling to embrace the heavy price tags associated with them. Here are a few.
- Teaching ~ I can teach what I want to teach and enjoy the accolades of others recognizing my giftedness. But God is supposed to choose the topics, choose the audience, and craft every word. I will be loved and I will be hated but He promises grace.
- Shepherding ~ I can shepherd those I’m attracted to and feel good when I’m appreciated. But God wants me to restore the broken and confront the ungodly. I must relinquish my need for acceptance.
- Leading ~ I can wear my power recklessly and lead others where I think they should go. I can enjoy being up front and having people answer to me but what about servant leadership? God calls me to lead by example. True spiritual power is about laying my life down.
- Showing mercy ~ I am gratified when I am able to extend mercy to those I feel need it and deserve it. It’s rewarding to dry their tears. But God also asks me to show mercy to those I feel are undeserving. He will also call me to withhold mercy for someone’s good until He says it’s time to act. Drying another’s tears too quickly interferes with what He is trying to tell them.
Spiritual gifts are wonderful things, aren’t they? Yes, but joy is found when I use them in a way that earns my Father’s approval. I follow Jesus by doing only what His Father tells me to do. Every gift is under His control. I will be loved and I will be hated. I will be embraced and I will be shunned. When I rise up under God’s anointing, I commit myself to experience every mountaintop and valley on the narrow road to glory.
Your gifts, Your way, through me. Amen