My dad was bi-vocational, working in the office for White Castle by day, and playing guitar by night (mostly weekends) at VFW’s and various events, including a local TV show called Midwestern Hayride. His day job was because he needed to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. His night job was simply because he loved playing the guitar. He was self-taught and quite talented, and more than just a guitar player, he strived to be an entertainer, and that he was. He would often point out other musicians to me that were also good entertainers, and although we differed in the type of music we liked, he was correct about entertainers. Entertainers have a talent and they knew how to use it.
Like most people, I never went into the entertainment industry, and rightly so as I don’t have a theatrical or musical talent, but I do remember thinking about how cool it would be to have a great singing voice, and how cool would it be to be a famous actress?! In retrospect I think my motive was more about being famous. Not really the best of motives. Although, who hasn’t ever dreamed of being famous or at least getting attention for doing something like that? It’s human nature. But therein lies the problem, our human nature. It’s our human nature that always seems to get in the way and mess things up. It’s our human nature that likes to draws attention to ourself, and it’s our human nature that’s wants to claim whatever talent or ability we have as some sort of personal achievement. It can also be that same human nature that causes us to dream about having a talent that we find attractive in others, all while ignoring or being ignorant of the talent that we actually do have.
Do you know what your natural talents or abilities are? It’s probably something that you enjoy doing and something you’re good at.
While specific talents and natural abilities are possessed by everyone, and regardless if we’re aware of them or not, spiritual gifts are only possessed by Christians, and it’s important to know the difference.
Spiritual gifts are only given to believers and are given by the grace of God for the specific purpose of doing a ministry that God has called us to do. Spiritual gifts, also known as gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as teaching, exhorting, generosity, leadership, showing mercy, etc., are to bring glory to God and to help us, and other believers, in our walk with Him. Spiritual gifts are to be used to draw attention to God, not ourselves.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” I Corinthians 12:4-7
Do you know what your spiritual gift or gifts are? While our spiritual gifts differ, all believers have them. The one thing we have in common is that we are to be actively using them, and using them in the way that God has planned.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received.” 1 Peter 4:10
As believers we should ask ourselves from time to time, are we’re using our spiritual gifts in the way that God has intended for us? And, are we in any way combining our talents and abilities along with our spiritual gifts in a way that does not glorify God?
Which brings to mind something that has been weighing in on my mind for quite some time now and is prevalent in many of today’s popular churches: pastors who preach contemporarily worded (aka woke and worldly) messages and who draw attention to themselves unnecessarily, church services that are choreographed like big TV productions, and of course, contemporary Christian rock music artists that “whoa”and “woo” the congregation with loud and popular music as if they were at a concert.
Are they all talented? Yes.
Are they using their spiritual gifts to glorify God? Suffice it to say that it’s probably a good thing that it is not up to me to decide that.
To clarify, I believe if you have some type of natural musical or theatrical talent, that’s great. I enjoy music, movies, and secular entertainment just like everyone else.
My point is, don’t blur the line between natural talent and spiritual gifts.
Don’t assume the charismatic and popular preacher is rightly preaching and teaching the Word of God. Don’t assume that large churches are glorifying God with their entertaining productions. Don’t assume that singing popular contemporary Christian music is equivalent to worshiping God. And, don’t assume that attending church is the equivalent substitute for a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
“you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. Philippians 1:10
“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.” Hosea 14:9
“I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies!” Psalm 119:125