To me, spiritual gifts are kind of like leather pants. They look great…on other people.
I grew up Methodist. We don’t talk about spiritual gifts much. Sometimes, we worship sitting down. And we like eating casseroles. Sometimes we worship sitting down while eating casseroles, which could be considered a spiritual gift.
I’ve read the passages about spiritual gifts in the bible. You know, the verses that talk about things like discernment and exhortation. I always figured those were the gifts for smart people. And serving and giving were for people with peaceful smiles. I’m pretty sure I don’t have a peaceful smile. Preaching and teaching was only for guys, particularly the ones with beards. And then there’s tongues, the gift that makes Methodist me a little uncomfortable. Tongues was only for spiritual rockstars—you know, the ones who wear leather pants.
And then there’s me. Beardless, tongueless, leather-pantsless me. While everyone else exhorts, serves, and teaches, I make nachos. Apparently, cooking Mexican food isn’t considered a spiritual gift, especially if you refuse to share.
Searching for Spiritual
According to the bible, if you’re a Christian, you’ve got a spiritual gift. That seemed like a good deal to me, so I spent a lot of time looking for my spiritual gift. I took some tests, watched some videos, and did some soul searching. Some of it fit and some of it didn’t. Mostly, I just ate nachos.
It’s frustrating. After all, having a spiritual gift makes you spiritual. It means you’re close to God, and the more spiritual your gift, the closer you and God are. Spiritual gifts are like a stamp of divine approval, a sign you’re doing something right. They give you a place and a purpose within the church. They help you fit in.
And the rest of us? Well, good luck with that.
Love is Spiritual
Except, spiritual gifts don’t make us more spiritual. They’re not supposed to make us feel special or help us fit in. We’re given spiritual gifts so we can love other people, and if we’re not using our gifts to love, we’re wasting God’s time.
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
In this verse, Paul lists several spiritual gifts—tongues, prophecy, faith, and giving—except these aren’t just your run of the mill, regular ol’ spiritual gifts. The gifts in this verse are the biggest, baddest acts of spirit-power most Christians can even imagine.
Paul mentions speaking in the tongues of angels. Do you know anyone who speaks angel, cause if you do, I want to meet them. He talks about prophecy, but not just any prophecy—the kind of prophecy that understands all of God’s most secret plans. Paul talks about faith that moves mountains and giving that sacrifices everything, even it’s own life. All of these are inspiring, miraculous acts of spiritual power, and yet without love, none of it means anything.
When It’s All Said and Done
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
1 Corinthians 13:8
Ultimately, we won’t be remembered for our worship or our sermons. No one’s going to care if we prophesied the end of time or gave away everything we had. It doesn’t matter if we fast on alternate Thursdays or pray for hours on end. Cause when it’s all over, everything we’ve ever done will be stripped away and we’ll be left with nothing but our love. And then what will we have to hide behind?
Stop Being So Spiritual
Christians are spiritual people, and yes, Christians have spiritual gifts, but sometimes, I think we get so caught up in being spiritual we forget to love. Maybe, instead of worrying about whether we’re better at exhorting or discerning, we should love people. Maybe, instead of trying to figure out which ministry we fit into, we should love people. Maybe, instead of worrying about how spiritual we are, we should remember that love is the most spiritual gift of all.
I’m beginning to think love is my spiritual gift, and I’m willing to bet it’s yours too. I’m going to make nachos now.