I didn’t come up with the title to this video.
Have you ever been to a carnival and seen the game where you swing a hammer and try to make a bell ring at the top. It’s called a Hi-Striker. Like most carnival games it’s usually rigged. If you’ve ever taken a personality or “spiritual gifts test” you might feel they seem rigged as well. Oh, it’s easy for some. The test says “You would make a great pastor or teacher”. No problem. Sign me up. Or, it says something like “You are a remarkable leader of men. You have a magnanimous personality which people are almost uncontrollably drawn to. You are practically perfect and because of you Jesus almost didn’t have to die on the cross”. OK. That last one is a little far-fetched. For some though, who have endured these tests it can feel that way.
Not only do they feel out-of-place because of tests, profiles, inventories and assessments. They also have to hear endless themed sermons on spiritual gifts. I think the problem is not that we have these tools or sermons. It’s that we really don’t know how to make people feel useful if their gifts aren’t a black and white profession (pastor, teacher), or obvious to them and everyone else. We still have people call themselves evangelists today, but I don’t hear too many people identifying themselves as apostles or prophets. When they do we typically consider them arrogant or just plain nuts. The modern-day apostle would most closely resemble a missionary. They meet all the biblical qualifications, but this still leaves us trying to find a place at the table for those with prophetic gifts.
If you really want to cause confusion about spiritual gifts just start reading 1 Corinthians 12 and wait until you get to verse 10.
10 To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues. AMP
I want to offer my perspective on the first two parts of the verse. I have a solid belief on the third, but sharing that now would be to lengthy and segmented for a blog post.
Concerning prophetic gifts-
When it comes to prophetic gifts we often find pastors at a lost trying to decide where those gifts fit in within our culture and society. Professions these people might be good at also allude us. Many heavily prophetically gifted people are pegged as somewhat socially awkward. Similar in nature to the stereotypical musician. (Which by the way is a good profession for them.) Not to mention that nobody wants a prophet exposing their deep dark secrets like to prophet Nathan did to David after his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba and then murder of her husband Uriah. I remember while in bible college I lady pointing her finger at me across the lunch tale and begin prophesying. I wasn’t having a great day, and I just wanted to eat my lunch, feel sorry for myself, and head over to our united session. Then God interrupted my life with an encouraging word. How dare He. That’s right, an encouraging word. Not every word from God a chance for Him to expose your character flaws to the world. Even in the case of David the word of the prophet brought him closer to God, and showed God’s redemptive power. Needless to say, I didn’t speak to that woman for a year after the lunch room incident. I have to say she and her husband became two of my closest friends in college. Her insight still has a positive impact on my life to this day. It reminds me of how much God cares for me. Enough to have someone come to me and tell me so.
We need not be afraid of those who have prophetic gifts. Often their words speak encouragement to our lives.
I want to end this post with some professions that I believe work well with the prophetic gifts.
- Social Worker
- Worship Leader
Feel free to add your own.