When I first heard that the Holy Spirit was handing out gifts, I wanted to be the first in line to receive mine! I love surprises–the good kind, thank you–and a brightly-wrapped package will always be met with an enthusiastic response from me! However, I do realize that there are folks who are not moved by glitzy boxes and for whom surprises–even the good kind–are unsettling.
For many years, the church gave no attention to spiritual gifts. “Discovery processes” were unheard of. Then someone read 1 Corinthians 12:1 and took it seriously: Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. And a new movement was born. While it grew quickly among the charismatic churches, even the more conservative churches have come to realize the value in gifts discovery.
It amazes me that I still encounter people who aren’t even curious about these gifts the Holy Spirit is giving out, much less the one that has their name on it! How can they ignore something so exciting? How can they not want this priceless gift? It just doesn’t make sense to me. But recently I heard something that gave me a clue…
I have been engaged in a study of Bishop N. T. Wright’s book, Simply Christian, including the accompanying video teaching. Bishop Wright says,
The point is not that the Spirit comes to give us, as it were, a new spiritual high, the spiritual Christian equivalent of being on some drug or other. The point is rather that the Spirit comes in order to enable God’s people to be his people in and for the world. If you think you’re receiving the Spirit but don’t sense that there’s anything you ought to be doing out there in God’s world, then maybe it isn’t God’s Spirit that you’re actually receiving. And likewise, if you think you’re supposed to be engaging in some new task for God’s kingdom, but don’t think you need God’s Spirit to help you do it, then you are heading for disaster, and that fast. (emphasis mine)
If you are an equipping leader who is finding there are some who are just not interested in hearing about–or discovering their–spiritual gifts, perhaps the deeper need is for a real encounter with the Holy Spirit. Obviously, we can’t engineer that (though some do try!), so what are we to do? Pray. The greatest gift equipping leaders can give is to pray fervently for those who need an honest-to-goodness, knock-their-socks-off encounter with the Holy Spirit! Pray that He will stir in them an unquenchable desire to know what the Spirit has given. Then stand ready to help them discover their gift (not the least of which is the Holy Spirit himself) and how they can use that gift for God’s purpose in and for the world!