2000-07-15 - Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual Gifts, Part 10
Many of you have written to us concerning the series we recently sent on Spiritual Gifts adapted from Oliver J. Siemans book Understanding Spiritual Gifts. The letters have varied to a great degree, some have agreed with the study; others especially those who practice speaking in tongues, have written to express their disagreement.
The study we presented was conservative in it's nature. It was taken from a study done many years ago. (I chose this study to send because Rick's job requires a lot of overtime in the summer months). Because of the controversy (mostly over speaking in tongues) I have looked at what others believe, and really over the past few weeks, studied the texts used in the devotional, the writings of others and of course the Bible.
What conclusion have I come to? Well, I am not going to argue about tongues either way. God is God and He does what He wants to do. Regarding the other gifts; the gifts mentioned in the Book of Corinthians were used in a specific way to build the church. Are those gifts present today?
I know a man named Kent, Rick watched him as he witnessed on the boardwalk and told a young man something he in no way could he have known without the knowledge having come from God. He did not know the man, yet he told him about a sin in his life and then led the young man to Christ.
I know of a man named Andrew who can tell the Gospel story using an art show like no one's business, and people have been led to the Lord through it.
Rick was told Mr. Haynie, a man he respected for many years about a man who visited a sick man in the hospital. The sick man was not saved. The man spoke to the sick man and while speaking began to tell him the gospel in his grandfather's native Indian language, a language the man had never spoken and did not realize he had until the sick man told him so. The man was then led to the Lord.
I know a woman named Annette who drove someone three hours from a festival and then drove back, so he could be with his wife and troubled daughter. She encouraged the mother of the child and the woman was encouraged in the Lord.
I know a woman who cleans church toilets, because of her love for God and others.
I know a man who serves coffee out of his love for God and others.
I know a woman who hugs you and prays for you even without knowing anything that is going on in your life and loves you out of her love for God and others.
I know women who care for little children out of their love for God and others.
I know people who cook meals for others, who visit the sick, who love old people, who give of their time, who give of their money because of their love for God and others.
I know people who pray because of their love for God and others.
There is a pattern. What has God taught me through this whole time of study? That the greatest evidence of the Holy Spirit working in someone's life is love. Not the world's love, but God's love. All the things mentioned above are wonderful, but if the love of God is not able to be poured through your life (as a clean vessel) then everything else is useless. We could sit and argue all kinds of theological questions, until Jesus comes back. But perhaps the right questions to ask are these:
Am I in the Word ? Am I clean? Can I be used? Is there unconfessed sin in my life? Can God love others through me? Am I a blessing to others? Am I open to the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit? Have I put the needs of others above the needs of myself? Have I laid my life at the foot of the cross, everyday?
I will close with something a reader said that made sense and was said in love:
"Let us all look for ways to build up the Body, not look for ways that may tear it down. We all love the Lord! We all agree that our salvation comes only from the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. We all agree that our works will not get us into heaven. We all agree that we are to love one another, as Christ loved the church … the Body. The list could go on and on. The point is: Let us, each of us individually, and the many denominations corporately, focus on the many, many ways that we agree about our Christianity and look away from the minor points that divide us."
In His Service,