Spiritual Focus // SPIRITUAL GIFTS
By Chris Bowlby
This Sunday, Lead Pastor Isaac walked us through the Biblical arc that empowers BOTH Men and Women. He said,
“Nothing about our physiology disqualifies us from serving. Rather, as we are each “conformed to the image of his dear Son ” (Romans 8:27-28) God will work us together. We become as we were meant to be.”— Isaac Hovet, Lead Pastor
We become as we were meant to be. For the first few years of our marriage, Alyssa and I were trying to figure out what life looked like together. The Bible says that “two will become one”, but this process takes a bit of time to work out in the flesh what God has done in the Spirit! Alyssa’s grandfather was a woodworker; I really enjoyed spending time with him working on projects. Over the next few years we would slowly begin to acquire tools: a table saw, a cordless drill, routers, sanders, etc.. During this time we also purchased a fixer upper. Our first house had a plethora of projects to keep us busy. Over the course of 5 years we gutted two bathrooms, completely renovated a kitchen (moving gas lines, water, and electrical), replaced LOTS of drywall, painted inside and out, replaced every light fixture, sanded hardwood floors, replaced linoleum for tile floors, tore off and replaced a roof, built a deck, and redid our landscaping. 85% of this work we did ourselves; YouTube videos are a DIYer’s best friend!
Something became clear to me over the course of these 5 years. While I enjoyed some projects and was handy with tools, my wife Alyssa LOVED working on these home improvement projects. She was also incredible at them. She had an eye for detail and incredibly steady hands (the plumber we had to hire for a tricky plumbing project commented on her clean solder joints on our copper pipes!). Honestly, I didn’t like this. Due to my own insecurity, I became embarrassed when others found out that I didn’t complete the latest home improvement project, but it was my wife instead. I would downplay her contributions. Our culture is pretty clear – men are the ones that participate with the handiwork. It didn’t occur to me that perpetuating a gender stereotype could single handedly keep me from my own joy and shrink my wife’s calling and gifting.
After repenting to both the Lord and my wife I began celebrating her for her calling. Instead of minimizing her contributions I began openly encouraging them. Now, if you come to our house my wife will gladly show you our garage. My half has the weightlifting equipment – her half is marked by a bandsaw on one end, a planer on the other, with a whole slew of power and hand tools in-between! She almost always has a project going; right now she is refinishing a dining room table. It honestly makes me so sad to think of the years I spent trying to commandeer a calling that wasn’t mine because of a societal pressure that was unfair to begin with. Because of my participation with these expectations, Alyssa and I both struggled to “become as we were meant to be.”
Today we come back to our Spiritual Gifts. I thought I knew what my gifts were. But I was unaware of my own bias regarding cultural exceptions around gender. Over the past weeks you have had the opportunity to examine your own Spiritual Gifts. God has filled you with passions and gifting that are not precipitated by your gender.
- Take some time to ponder: Have you allowed cultural expectations around gender bias your understanding of your gifting? Is there something you love doing and avoid OR is there something you dislike yet continue to feign passion regardless of your feelings?
- Have you discouraged someone else in their gifting due to cultural expectations around gender?
- If necessary, take some time to confess and repent.
- With renewed passion, revisit some previous week’s devotions around Spiritual Gifts. Without cultural restraints around gender, commit again to pursue and hone your gifts.
This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you . . .2 Timothy 1:6a (NLT)