Changing the World and Doing the Dishes

The next slab of teaching we’re going to do at QBC revolves around the whole theme of spiritual gifts and people finding their place in the body. I haven’t done this one for a while and want to consider how we approach it – because its always easy to click back to the ‘defaults’.

These days I approach it with two equal, and to some degree opposite, thoughts in mind. Firstly and primarily we want to inspire people to use whatever God given talents they have to make a difference in this world, but I reckon its also important to communicate that we also want people to ‘do their share’ in the family. Its a blend of inspiration and responsibility. I’ve been known to say ‘if you want to be in the family then you need to do the dishes’ – sometimes quite literally. But I seriously hope that when people express who God has made them to be it becomes a whole heap more than that.

Spiritual gifts is another one of those subjects that has been done to death and may lack some punch for those who have been around churches for the last 10 years, so we won’t be taking longer than 5 or 6 weeks on it. But for a community in early stages of formation its helpful groundwork and perhaps more importantly its helpful to frame how we see spiritual gifts operating in our church.

So it will involve some big picture ‘framing’ of the idea of gifting and considering the different ways it is looked at as well as some more informal times of hearing from people who are gifted in different ways and seeing how they express their gift.

As I consider the two statements above though, my sense is that its going to be very difficult to ever change the world if you can’t just do the dishes.

3 thoughts on “Changing the World and Doing the Dishes

  1. Hi Hamo,

    Do you think one of the difficulties we have with “spiritual gifts” is that we too often equate them to “talents”?

    Lately, I’ve been approaching this topic by focusing on the term “manifestations of the spirit” rather than “gifts”. Certainly, we all have skills and talents and certainly all that we are (talents and weaknesses) are from God. But I think we make a mistake when we start to view talents (something we choose and develop in the course of our jobs or interests) as “spiritual”. We begin to really take God off the center and place ourselves there instead. Eventually, we become willing to only do the “jobs” that fit our “gifts” (i.e. we don’t want to do the dishes). We also begin to defer to others things that perhaps God is trying to develop within us (i.e. “I don’t have the gift of evangelism, you should come talk to our evangelism guy”)

    But merely carrying the word Paul also uses in 1 Cor–manifestation–the entire concept gains new meaning. Now it is not a “possession” or “preference” of ours that determines the gift but a channeling of the Spirit’s power through us that manifests itself in our lives. Now God is the cause of the effect and we are His instruments. In this mode, we should be more than happy to “do the dishes” because the task isn’t as important as our posture before God and our openness to being used in whatever way he sees fit.

    This isn’t to say that every one will experience all of the “manifestations” equally. But it also says that if one has experienced a manifestation in one stage of their life, they may manifest a different “gift” at another.

    Spiritual gift assessments now become reflections on how God has operated in our lives. These should reinforce our faith but at this same time spur us on to “desire the greater gifts” (read: manifestations of God’s presence) which culminates in perfect love.

  2. Interesting idea Bob – I think perhaps its both.

    I think God can redeem our natural talents and infuse them with spiritual dynamism but he can also give us a specific spiritual ‘gift’ for a time

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