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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gifts or Presence

Awhile ago I listened to a Christian speaker (Note: this is not a person that I know personally or that knows me) speak on a passage of scripture.  He (generic use of the term) read the passage in full and then began to share stories from his life and experience that were, I suppose in his view, related to the passage he had read.  This man was a gifted speaker; a good communicator.  He was not much constrained by the text.  He spoke for about 30 minutes and other than reading the passage after his introduction did not connect much of what he said to the text.
Is it our gifts that make us effective?
It seemed to me that he was relying on his giftedness and skill in speaking rather than having that giftedness and skill driven by his time before Christ in His Word.  He did not unfold the text or invite us to engage with it in any meaningful way, rather he used the text to amplify vignettes from his experience.  While interesting, his audience needed to be drawn to Christ not the speaker.

There is a challenge with gifts, skills, strengths, and drivers.  It is the case that God sovereignly distributes gifts and creates us with innate abilities; they are not for our edification, but for His.  It is easy to rely on those gifts and abilities when we come to serve in any capacity.  When we do we are abusing the gifts and those with whom we are sharing them.  Colossians 3:1 – 4 tells us that our life is in Christ.  Our gifts and abilities are only in full effect when they are the means that express our utter astonishment at what we have experienced of Christ in His Word as we have sought Him and partaken of His nature (2 Peter 1:3 -4)through the guidance of the Helper He has sent us.

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