Monday, January 26, 2015

Inventory of Gifts

Having grown up in the church since 9 months before I was born, I'm very familiar with those Spiritual Gift surveys. I'm not sure who writes the questions or determines the answers, but I've always felt like it was the equivalent of taking a quiz in my latest Seventeen magazine.

I could skew the tests, providing a more favorable outcome. Or else just be straight forward yet not leave with much greater knowledge than I already have. Either way my gifts never fell into the "nursery" or "church kitchen" categories, so I felt like any special abilities I had weren't very useful in my church context.

In my twenties, I really struggled to find a place to fit. Given the married/singles segregation in the church, I found myself thrust into a label which felt more like a prison sentence. Whatever gift the Holy Spirit endowed upon me when He saved me at age 8, I prayed that it wasn't connected to the "gift of singleness" Paul talked about (and our teachers defaulted to, as a lame way of assuring us we weren't the island of the misfit toys).

At age 34, having counted myself as a follower of Christ for 26 years, I'm still not sure I know what my gift is. I'm pretty sure translating what British actors are saying doesn't count as the gift of tongues. I once had a Bible Study teacher suggest my gift could be mercy. I'm still making fun of her for that one.

Late last year my Bible study leader asked if I would be interested in teaching the class in the future. I'm not shy in the least. Add to that my love for reading and comprehending the Bible and she got a solid maybe answer from me.

I prayed about it, asking for humility and wisdom. A few weeks later, I found myself agreeing to teach in January. Given a variety of dates, I chose one without looking at the content our quarterly study guide had already laid out.  

Much like those in the Bible who cast lots, the lesson was chosen for me rather than me choosing the lesson. The subject? Lust.

I think it goes without saying, but the lesson was a difficult one for me. Not because lust is top on my list of sins - unless coveting a husband who cooks falls under the "lust" category. (Our study guide didn't seem to think so, but some other commentaries on the original words used for both covet and lust did.)

Rather this lesson was difficult because I'm a prude, and this is one of those sins most aren't willing to fess up about. Typically we have an easy conversation in class - prompted by our great teacher with scripture shaping the direction of the talk. Thankfully, though, they weren't completely silent on the matter, and I managed to make it through the class mostly unscathed.

What followed, however, surprised me. On the drive home, I received a text from the teacher asking if I considered teaching a spiritual gift. I didn't make as much fun of her as I did the teacher who suggested mercy, but I did brush off the suggestion.

Only she really is an incredible teacher/disciple maker, and pushed me further. If not teaching, then what is my spiritual gift? 

I'm still not entirely convinced, but the most recent BuzzFeed quiz puts Teaching, Knowledge, and Giving at the top of my list. I'm not sure what I think about the results. But the follow up test? Totally spot on.

Do you know your spiritual gift? 
How did you go about discovering your talents - supernatural or otherwise?


  1. :) You do make me laugh sometimes! Teaching a class on lust would not be easy.
    I certainly don't have the gift of teaching. Like you, I've done lots of those tests and I've wished my gift was a little more clear and obvious. I usually do get mercy and I think that probably fits.

  2. I've been told that a person with the gift of teaching can't not teach - like they have to constantly be breaking ideas into smaller bites for others to receive. Sound like it went very well for you!

  3. I have a hard time with quizzes. I like to take them, but I over-analyze every question! Either that, or there are two answers that I feel equally about. I've taken a couple of spiritual gift tests and encouragement, hospitality, and serving.