Friday, August 17, 2012

The Benefit of Spiritual Gifts Testing

For the last two days I’ve noted a potential pitfall to spiritual gifts testing.  (See here and here).  Though I think there are dangers to spiritual gifts testing I do believe they can be beneficial.  As I mentioned yesterday, our church does a 3 in 1 profile that considers personality as well as spiritual gifts.  Such tools can be helpful to the body in these ways:

  • If a foot thinks it is a hand you’ve got problems.  Though I’d rather have two hands and a confused foot that thinks its a hand over zero hands, I’d much rather have hands and feet do what they were created to do.  Gifts testing can help hands realize that they are not feet.
  • Empowering the timid.  Sometimes a person is convinced that they are of little use to the church.  Knowing that God has especially gifted them for service might empower them.  (Though I wouldn’t rely on that alone—there are gospel issues here that also need to be explored). 
  • A chance to glorify God in his diversity.  Usually arms think of the world through the perspective of an arm.  Spiritual gifts testing and discussions afterwards can help arms (and other body parts) glory in the diversity and wisdom of God.
  • A chance to realize who you are not and to rejoice in those that are.  For a guy like me that really stinks at organization it can be really wonderful to realize that some people actually thrive on such things. 
  • It provides an opportunity for cruciform love.  The “more excellent way” is to use the gifts that the Lord has given us to love and serve the body.  Knowing what that looks like gives you an opportunity to at times “lay down” your gifts for the sake of love.  And other times to fully use your gifts for the sake of love. 

For these benefits to really see fruition they will need to be cultivated in a culture:

  • where discipleship happens
  • where humble service is cultivated
  • where it is realized that these gifts test are not flawless, not a one time thing, and not defining (in other words—people change)
  • where they are not used as an excuse to not do the things that you are not gifted in.


The main point of this has been to say that whenever I look at the places in Scripture where spiritual gifts are discussed it is not primarily concerned with an attempt to figure out your giftedness or to help you figure out where to serve.  Spiritual gifts tests are helpful not necessarily to decide what ministry to be involved in but to help you will do the ministry that we’re all called to do. 

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