During this mornings devotion, the following verse stood out to me like a neon light from Romans. Rom 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. This verse ultimately is talking about how we cannot save ourselves, rather salvation comes from a merciful God.
But it also caused me to stop and reflect on another aspect of God’s grace and mercy that cannot depend on our human will or exertion. And that is within the framework of those whom God calls and positions into leadership within the Church. We cannot will our selves to become Apostolic. We cannot will our selves to become Prophets. We cannot will our selves to become Evangelists. We cannot will ourselves to become Pastors / Teachers. Rather its God who calls, appoints and who anoints his people with those gifting’s and callings.
Certainly Scripture tells us a lot about how to choose the leaders amongst us and how they must have certain character traits to be eligible to lead in Christ’s church. But above all, its the gifting’s of God that empower his people to do the work in which they are called. And the church must get this framework of understanding right for it to be effective in its ministry.
Gifting is what makes a person good at what they do. A gifted person makes something look easy. It doesn’t mean that that person doesn’t have to work hard at improving what they do. Indeed the opposite happens. A gifted person normally will push themselves to improve and to grow in the gift they have under the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
For example, singing is not my gifting. I am such a bad singer, my shower turns its self off. I am tone deaf and I have problems singing in sync with others. I also cannot play a musical instrument. And I can confidently say that I am not called to be in the worship team, nor would it be wise for me to even ask to be a part of it. And if anyone approached me to be a part of it, I would strongly suspect they didn’t have a gift of wisdom. But when a gifted singer sings and when a gifted musician plays they make it easy for the congregation to follow along in praise and worship. There is an atmosphere of life being released over, through and welling up within the congregation, as they connect with the living God.
The same goes with preaching. There are some people who are better at preaching then others. There are some who are called to preach and others who want to preach who are not called to do so. Someone who is called and gifted to preach / teach will build up an atmosphere of life within their hearers. The congregation will have had a sense of encountering the living God. They will have had their hearts strengthened and encouraged. And yet the opposite will happen if the speaker isn’t preaching / teaching from a position of gifting. In many ways death and destruction takes place. The congregation shuts down mentally, physically and spiritually.
Administration is another great gift from God. Some people are really good at organising things. They are good at running meetings. They are good at making sure the checks and balances are kept and that all the right boxes are ticked. Every congregation needs to ensure that they have people with this gifting of administration on their board. Because simply put, this is what God has gifted them to do.
Within the framework of gifts and callings though, often we don’t recognise at first that we may have a gift in one area or other. And so we try our hand here, and we try our hand there until we discover an area that we are both good at and passionate about and we become fruitful and effective at what we do.
Over the next few weeks, I intend to write in more depth about the variety of gifts and callings of God. But I would like to conclude this post with the exhortation that God is our gift. God has given himself to us completely and totally. He gave himself to us through Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And he manifests himself in us so that we can together become the people of God in whom God truly dwells.