Spiritual Focus // SPIRITUAL GIFTS
By Donia Hovet
I’m a short lady, falling several inches below average height at 5’3’. Consequently, I live with some very real constraints:
- I can’t see, let alone reach, the top shelf in my kitchen-or any kitchen, for that matter.
- I get a crick in my neck when I dance with my husband who is 6’4”.
- I am an easy opponent to beat on the basketball court.
- I am always made to stand in the front during group photos. Ladies, you understand what I’m talking about here.
- Washing the roof of the car is a real pain.
- I’m hard to find in a crowd.
- I can’t see over people’s heads in church.
I could go on.
No matter how much I want to be tall, I will never be able to make it happen. High heels don’t help; I’m still short. I can try to change myself in lots of ways, but growing taller is a non-starter. God made me this way, I didn’t choose it.
Just as God has created each of us with physical attributes, by his grace he has also given each of us spiritual gifts. This past week Isaac unpacked one of the six distinctives of being pentecostal: We are evangelistic.
It just so happens that evangelism is also a distinct spiritual gift, given by the Holy Spirit (See. C. Peter Wagner defines evangelism this way:
“The gift of evangelis[m] is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to share the Gospel with unbelievers in such a way that men and women become Jesus’ disciples and responsible members of the Body of Christ” (p.148).
Think Billy Graham. I also think of my outgoing and outspoken brother-in-law, Ryan. You probably can think of people in your life who always have a story about sharing Jesus on an airplane or in a grocery store, or just going about their business. They likely have the specific gift of evangelism.
Yet, Jesus gives the GENERAL mandate to ALL of his disciples:
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20
And again in Acts 1:8, he says: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
We are meant to be evangelists. Truth be told, this has always made me a bit uncomfortable. I’m shy. I struggle to talk to my neighbors. On any spiritual gift test I’ve ever taken, I’ve always scored low on the gift of evangelism.
Here’s my take. I’m not tall either. But that doesn’t mean I don’t reach for a footstool on occasion. It doesn’t mean I can’t shoot hoops. I might need to use a step ladder when the car needs to be washed, or sit in the front row at church.
The same goes with evangelism. For those of us who don’t have an extra dose of this gift, we have to get a step stool out. We have to purposefully make ourselves available and ask God to show us who to share with and what to say. The Great Commission is not for a few, it is for all of us. And if this scares you, just remember, I’m with you and the Holy Spirit is with us.
- READ: Acts 8:26-40.
- Take a minute and think about what it is like to share the Gospel with a stranger like Philip did. Write down the feelings that come. Are you excited? Scared? Stumped?
- Rate your openness to sharing the Gospel with someone, either a stranger or a friend.
5-Very comfortable; 4-Somewhat comfortable; 3-Indifferent; 2-Uncomfortable; 1-I’d rather die!
- Pray for God to show you opportunities to share the Gospel. Pray that he would equip you with the right words at the right time. Spend some time praying for loved ones who don’t know Jesus yet.