I’m a firm believer that it is important for us to know how the Holy Spirit has gifted us and called us to serve God and the Church. So over the past few weeks, I’ve asked everyone to take a spiritual gifts survey to identify what our spiritual gifts might be.
The test was kind of long. Some of the questions were pretty tough. When we finished the test, the computer spewed out our results. It listed the top three scoring gifts, as well as our overall scores for the various gift areas. Then, if you were like me when I first took one of these tests, you sat there and stared at the results, and wondered something like, “I have WHAT gift?” Really?
Faithful or Useless.
When we read the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30, there are two types of servants depicted- those that were faithful, and one who was useless. Each servant was given gifts based on their ability, and were expected to watch over them while the master was away. They were then called to account for how they used them. The two servants who invested their talents, they were rewarded and called faithful. The third servant, the one who took what he’d been given and buried it in the ground? He was called wicked, lazy, and useless. And then his master sent him away into a pretty horrible sounding place.
“I could never do the things Jesus did. I’m just not good enough.” I’ve heard it a lot. Some people say it outright. Others imply it by their actions or inactions. It seems a little too common among Western Christians to believe that they are just horrible sinners incapable of doing anything good in this life. For many, it’s a debilitating belief, rendering all attempts at doing anything productive in this life null.
I woke up yesterday feeling miserable- painful sinus congestion causing a horrible headache, body aches, and a very tight chest from coughing all night (before anyone chastises me, I went to the doc’s and got checked out). I spent the day at home in bed so our wonderful church secretary didn't have to listen to me being miserable all day. :)
So after sleeping a bunch, I tuned into Netflix hoping to catch up on a show I really like, "Everybody Loves Raymond" (ok, so I'm just a few years behind on my tv watching)...
The notion that God wants me to be rich, happy, and successful is a pretty nice thought, huh? It’s nice to think that God has my best interests at heart- that He wants to hear from me what I want and will more than happily give it to me…as long as I believe enough, and as long as I give enough of my time, energy, and money.
You see though, this notion, however appealing, is not biblical! Nowhere in Jesus’ teachings do we hear that God desires us to have the life we dream of, with the fantastic house, the latest greatest car, or the fattest wallet...
Cori Cypret is the pastor of The United Methodist Church of Coopersville.