Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t know what my spiritual gift is!” What a malady of the spirit that presents. My Goodness, I cannot count the scores of students of the Scriptures who have confessed that they have no earthly idea what their spiritual gift is. And with good cause. As we are reading through the fourth chapter of Ephesians beginning at the eleventh verse, we read, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ (NASB),” No help there! Their resumes don’t seem to include any of those categories.
Again, in the twelfth chapter of 1 Corinthians beginning at verse 28, we find another list of such gifts including: apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles, healers, helpers, administrators, various kinds of tongues. Once again, they cannot put pair their name with a single gift on that list either. Frustrating!
Continuing on, in that twelfth chapter of 1 Corinthians, we see that such frustrations are validated. “All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? (verses 29-30 NASB) In looking through all those Spiritual gifts, they readily declare that their business cards cannot say John Doe, pastor, nor John Doe, prophet, nor John Doe, administrator, etc.
Even If we were to add some positions of service to that list, many would still come up empty. Such persons might be too timid to be an usher or greeter, or too lacking in patience to work in the nursery, nor could they ‘carry a tune in a bucket’, let alone play a musical instrument. Yet they want to fulfill that empty place in their spirit by exercising their gift—whatever that may be.
In search of some answers, let’s bend our minds somewhat and step outside the walls of the church. Let’s just say a Christian brother cannot seemingly exercise any of the gifts listed above but he can sure fix a leaky faucet. And let’s say God had had caused a faucet to leak in a particular home at a specific time—a situation where his ‘secular’ talent would come into play. Our omniscient God would be well aware that as ‘John Doe, pastor’ he would not be welcome to enter that person’s home; but as ‘John Doe, plumber’ he would be greeted with open arms. Once inside that home, he might find his real reason for him being there. The Holy Spirit had already prepared the homeowner’s heart to hear the Word and set up a divine appointment between that homeowner and the plumber. God does not act randomly.
Such appointments are not rare with God. I am reminded of the story in Acts 8:where the Spirit of God led Philip, one of His disciples, out to the unlikely desert road running between Jerusalem and Gaza. God had already worked out a predestined time and place for a divine appointment unbeknownst to Philip. But, there at that specific time and place, he would meet a specific lone traveler who was reading his Bible. (My, my, what a coincidence.) “Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him (verses 34-35 NASB).”
Hmm, the next questions might be, “How does this process work?” “ How can such appointments be met successfully? First of all, we must always be prepared to enter the game. Proper preparation is a key. We must read and learn the ‘playbook’, follow the advise of the ‘head coach’, and “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near (Hebrews 10:25 NASB).” Hmm, ‘assembling together’. Interesting! The Bible is instructing us to assemble together with other believers. We might suggest that a Bible believing church is a good place for us to assemble together. Let’s call our assembling together as ‘huddle’. In the ‘huddle we receive instructions, encourage one another, and learn how to work together as a team. Huddles are up lifting and invigorating, and we enjoy the fellowship and camaraderie established during our huddles. They’re enlightening and fun.
But, we must constantly be reminded that no matter how much we enjoy our times in the huddle, games are not won in the huddles—No Siree! Games are won in the ‘field’. In Acts 8:4 we read, “Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word (NASB) Notice the word, ‘scattered’.If we are to win the battles, we are to break huddle, scatter out, and take our assigned positions in the fields of our calling. That is where we find ourselves planted in the most fertile ground. That is the place where we find ourselves among the lost and dying of the world. We find them in our work places, schools, hospitals, prisons. Those are the secular fields where God, in His infinite wisdom plants us. And then, we are to bloom where we are planted!
Warning! Life won’t be nearly as easy out in the field as it was in the huddle. Rather than encouragement and camaraderie we will be met with resistance and discouragement from the enemy. We will encounter all sorts of opposition and hardships. In many cases we will be shunned by our peers. We will often be called untoward names. But those are the fields in which our secular talents and spiritual gifts come into play; that is where we flourish in God’s sight. That is our reason for being. Just a little side bar, It should also be noted here that the greenery is more lush and the flowers are more bountiful when planted where the ground is rich with rotten leaves and decaying wood along with the refuse and dung from animal life. The harder the battle, the greater the rewards.