Do you like gifts? Have you ever questioned a gift you were freely given? What about a time when you received something you really didn’t want? Or, how about that gift you longed for before it came to fruition? What happened to all the gifts you have ever obtained? Who did these presents have the greatest impact upon?
Scot McKnight, author of Open to the Spirit, talks about a different type of present in his chapter entitled Open Yourself to a New Orientation in Life. He refers to a “spirit-prompted gift” as an endowment given to Christians in order to serve others, not themselves. (Think about John 10:27, Matthew 22:37-38, and Mark 12:31.) He goes on to explain that every gift comes directly from the same source, God, we may be given more than one, and the gift is designed as a contribution to the Body of Christ.
I love how the Lord not only created us for a purpose but grants each of us a calling. Then He equips us with special gifts which the Spirit distributes. It is all perfectly planned to see His work through to completion for the timeframe in which we were placed on earth. McKnight takes it even further by explaining God’s vision-a beautiful picture of each member using his/her gifts appropriately to “bring the church into a unity of worship and fellowship (the way of Christ)”. Therefore, every member is important! The puzzle is not complete without all the pieces present.
Do you wonder what “spirit-prompted gifts” you have been granted? Have you ever taken an assessment to help you determine? There are all types of tests available. Just be cautious and mindful that spiritual gifts are directly from God and to be used for God. Try not to get caught up in the gift itself and remember it is not about you-it is all about advancing the Lord’s kingdom.
McKnight says it best in his writing, “When we all exercise our Spirit-prompted gifts, we are drawn out of ourselves and toward one another.”
My favorite part of the chapter was when the writer states that our gifts are best managed when we do so through the use of the Spirit’s fruits. What fantastic advice. So, may we each be encouraged to use our spiritual gifts with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and goodness.
Can you imagine the results of fulfilling your purpose according to His calling by utilizing your spiritual gifts through incorporating the fruits of the Spirit? I accept the challenge.
McKnight, S. (2018). Open to the Spirit. New York: WaterBrook.