Saturday, February 25, 2012

Should we be led by our gifts and abilities?

We all thank God for the gifts and abilities that He has given to each of us. But are we led by these abilities, or do we simply use them in the course of our calling? Some today are denying that we are to be led of the Spirit (Romans 8:14) and insist that one determines the will of God for his life by rational evaluation of his gifts and abilities. In fact, they say that your abilities really tell you what your ministry is. Is this scriptural?

Definitely, not! Nowhere in the scripture does it indicate that we should determine our calling and vocation by our abilities. In the Old Testament, when God called a prophet, He revealed Himself to them. Inevitably the person called would plead that they have no ability to carry out such an assignment. And from a natural point of view, they were right. Nobody really has the natural ability to pastor or do any other sort of called ministry. Some can do some things well, but true pastoring requires a calling and equipping by the Spirit of God. The same is true for other ministries.

In fact, God often calls the least likely candidates for ministry. Recently, Chuck Swindoll, who has been in the ministry for over fifty years, wrote of his own struggles with stuttering. He was like George VI of England in that movie,the King's Speech, who had to overcome this same affliction in order to lead the nation into war. Now from a natural point of view, Swindoll should not have assumed that he was called to any ministry that would require public speech. But God called him anyway and helped him overcome his infirmity and gave him gifts to communicate the Word to many. If you have heard him speak, you can affirm that he is a wonderful teacher of God's Word.I thank God that he did not listen to those who would have us be led by abilities and not by divine calling.

In addition, I would say that many people of ability have called themselves into ministry who have no business being there. They may rise to positions of power within the church, but often they are not even truly born-again Christians, but rather religious liberals who use their abilities to distort the gospel. Other simply like that sort of work, but do little good.

When speaking of gifts and abilities, we must make the proper distinction between spiritual gifts and natural abilities. Natural abilities are abilities that we are born with. Everybody is good at something. God can also give spiritual gifts - these are only for those who are born of God. It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit who imparts these gifts to us. If you have a ministry gift, like evangelist, pastor or teacher, then your gift IS your calling. But it is not based on natural ability. Natural abilities may be anointed by God and used in ministry, but they do not determine ministry.

Furthermore, even if we are called to do something for God, and we know we are called, when and where we serve is still up to the Lord. We cannot decide how we will serve. He does. That is why we call him 'Lord'.

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