Spiritual gifts

I've been a Christian for 19 years now, and I think for a lot of that time I've been secretly hoping to develop one of the 'sexy' gifts. You know, hoping that I'd suddenly develop musical ability, or discover that I'm a great writer, a dynamic speaker or a gifted evangelist. I think that after all this time it's safe to say that if I did have one of those gifts it would probably have emerged by now. I know that I am a good administrator (some have called me borderline OCD, but I prefer to say 'administrator') but I've never really considered it a gift... which is somewhat stupid since it's specifically mentioned in the Bible. The thing is, I've always approached it as a 'fill in' type thing; a way of helping people out while they exercise their gifts. I've never seen it as kingdom work, and thus never been particularly thoughtful about the way I use it.

I have only realised recently (ie, in the last couple of weeks) that administration is not something that is done to allow others to use their gifts; it is itself a gift. Sure, it's a support function, but as part of the body of Christ we're all in support roles, aren't we? We all make up different parts and we're all supposed to be helping each other. Anyway, since it IS a gift I have come to realise that I need to be using it deliberately, rather than just stepping in to help people out as needed. I came to this conclusion about half an hour before going to my Bible study at uni, where the AFES person who looks after the Christian Union work on campus said, "Could you please pray for CU admin stuff, because there are a whole lot of things that needs to be done and no one really has time to do them... and we can't pay anyone." I thought, "Far out, God really doesn't waste any time, does he?" We prayed about it there, and I prayed about it again when I got home. And of course... guess what? I'm now giving CU three hours of my time each week to do admin work. Now there's a surprise. Actually, since I was the one who happened to pray for it during the study, I was in fact my own answer to prayer. Now THAT'S efficient!

I'm also doing some admin stuff for the music team at church, but that's not as regular and won't take up so much time. I feel good about these decisions, even though it impacts on my time. I think what I feel good about is the understanding that I'm doing what I should be doing, not just wandering around looking for little jobs to help people out. Helping people is important, of course, but committing to something on a regular basis can be far more helpful than the one-off stuff.

The other things about which I've always tried to be deliberate is encouragement, although I'm not sure that's necessarily one of my gifts. I try to make sure I'm sending out at least one letter / e-mail / card etc per week, to different people, just to encourage them in whatever they're doing, or to let them know I'm praying for them, or to say whatever happens to be appropriate to their situation at the time. However, I see this as just a regular part of caring for each other, and encouraging fellow believers to stay strong in the Lord - so I don't see it so much as one of MY gifts, but rather as the sort of thing we should all be doing anyway.


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