Monday, January 28, 2008

The difference between gifts and talents

Locusts & Honey links to David Wayne, who points out that what we sometimes think of as "spiritual gifts" are technically not "spiritual gifts":

"Mark Dever said a lot of things that stuck in [Ben Arment's] ribs last week over lunch. One of them is how much he detests spiritual gift inventories. He said their whole focus is on what "I want to do" rather than serving in the true spirit of selflessness... helping where we're most needed."...

What they said is true. I have seen it most commonly in people who fancy themselves to have the gift of prophecy. On more than one occasion I have heard such a person say "well, I guess I just don't have the gift of mercy" after they have emotionally run over someone.

On a deeper level most spiritual gift inventories are just spiritualized versions of temperament tests. Actually, in their place I find temperament tests very helpful and recommend them as good helps for people seeking to identify their strengths, weaknesses and best ways of working with others.

If we could leave spiritual gift inventories on that level - as helpful but not determinative, then I would be fine. The trouble is, spiritual gift inventories are often accompanied with teaching that says that each one of us is given one particular gift by God and we must identify it and use it. Thus, spiritual gift inventories rise to the level of "thus saith the Lord."

[mrontemp business] | [mrontemp politics] | [mrontemp technology] | [mrontemp tags]

Sphere: Related Content