May 29

Rev Gav

How can I receive God’s gifts?

The Holy Spirit wants to bestow and anoint you with spiritual gifts to empower you as you work within your wheelhouse.

The gospel message — the good news about Jesus Christ — is that, through Christ’s birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, we can be reconciled to God. We are made clean and holy so that God can come and make home in us through the Holy Spirit. There are two positive outcomes, if you will, of this for us as human beings. Firstly we gain eternal life, better expressed as ‘life in all its fullness’. This means we become connected to God, we know God and are known by God, and we receive comfort, encouragement, and guidance. The second outcome is that because the Spirit of God is always outward-looking and looking to the interests of others, the Spirit drives us to join in with God’s mission in the world, to seek its restoration, redemption, and renewal. This is expressed as ‘God’s kingdom coming here on earth as it is in heaven’ and it means we are to be God’s healing presence in the lives of others and in the environment. Yes, the gospel really is good news for us and for the world.

Collectively we are called the Church (with a capital C) and the Holy Spirit of God, working through us, gathers us in to teams, for our mutual support and encouragement, and to work together for God’s mission in the world, and this is what we call the local church (with a small c). No, you do not need to ‘go to’ church to be a Christian, but you definitely miss out if you do not. But the good news gets even better, because as God makes her home in us through the Holy Spirit, she brings gifts too!

The Holy Spirit, when invited by us — and Jesus encouraged us to ask — comes to us and fills us but does more than just minister to us, for the Holy Spirit equips us and bestows upon us Spiritual gifts to be used for God’s purposes in both the church and in the world. Every single Christian, filled with the Holy Spirit, has access to, or can operate in at least one spiritual gift from God. To not use the gift(s) of the Spirit is akin to having a wonderful wrapped present sitting on your breakfast table — something that will benefit you and others — and then leaving it there as you head out to work for the day.

There are lists in the Bible of the spiritual gifts, and none of them are exhaustive, for the Spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit are many and varied and they are sometimes bestowed for a time or season. I sometimes think of the gifts as a spiritual toolkit — a huge array of tools — any of which the Holy Spirit may pluck from a shelf and hand to us for a specific task or purpose.

So how do you discern what spiritual gift the Holy Spirit wishes to give to you? Well, the first thing to do is ask but, from experience, it is likely to be something that enhances that which you are gifted in or fires you up. My friend and colleague, Canon Jerry, at the cathedral, loves to use the expression, “operating in your wheelhouse,” and this is when you live and work in your area of passion and expertise. When you are in your wheelhouse you do not find that which you are doing exhausting or draining but exciting and energising. Now, imagine doing this with some extra gifting or anointing from the Holy Spirit of God! It takes what you are doing and raises it to another level. I can think of several people operating under the Spirit’s gifting who I suspect do not even realise it, and if you have experienced others praising God because of you, then that may well be you!

This, spiritual enhancing of our skills, talents, and passions, reminds me of the golfer Tiger Woods. He was once asked how much time he spent practising the shots he was least good at and his reply was that he did not. He spent all his time practising the shots he was really good at and got even better at them! He worked on his strengths and not his weaknesses. I think this applies to us in the church too. We may think we are weak in certain areas and that we need to get better at them, but we need to leave those things to someone else for whom it is their wheelhouse. In other words, each one of us is called to be part of the body of Christ’s church, and each one of us has specific skills and passions that will enhance the church and the mission of God, so ask the Holy Spirit to bless and anoint these and to ‘gift you’ in them.

The church is designed to work together — to bring together anointed skills and talents — that will bless each other and the world. This is God’s vision for us, so let us be excited for all the possibilities God has for us.

Holy God
We ask that your Holy Spirit would fill us,
and that you would anoint us with your gifts.
Help us discern how we are to serve
and be empowered with your love.
May we be open to your guidance
as we seek to be a blessing to one another,
and to the world around us.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen

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