Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good…All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.1 Corinthians 12:7, 11
Sometimes when a conversation comes up about spiritual gifts, I hear someone say something like, “I don’t want that gift,” or “I’m not interested in that.” This is especially true if we’re talking about gifts like tongues or prophecy or healing, etc.
But all the gifts, including these kinds of gifts, are good gifts from a good Father distributed by the Holy Spirit. Is that how we’d want our child to respond if we gave them a bike or a gaming console?
Usually, this defensive response comes from a place of hearing of others who have those gifts and not wanting to feel like a second class Christian if we don’t have them. These kinds of statements really come from a deeper question which is asking something like, “Am I still okay if I don’t have that gift?”
Imagine if you had a son who was watching the neighbor kid get a bike and your son was trying to fight off insecurity or jealousy. He might be asking himself, “Why didn’t I get that?” Or, “Does he think he’s better because he has that?” He might ultimately resign himself to thinking, “I didn’t want that anyway.” But we wouldn’t want our son to feel that way or think those thoughts. It’s not the right response to seeing others get a gift that we don’t have. And it’s not the right heart posture.
Instead, we would want our son to celebrate other people getting gifts even when (and maybe especially when) he doesn’t get that gift. We would also want him to ask for those gifts if he wants them. And we would want him to be secure in the gifts he’s already been given.
All of this applies to us with regards to spiritual gifts. We need to celebrate others who have gifts that are different than ours. We need to pursue and ask for certain gifts if we desire them. And, in the meantime, we need to be secure in the gifts we already have. Fighting off any sense of insecurity, jealousy, or worry that others will think we’re second class Christians will be essential for this. And we need to make sure we don’t denigrate the gifts of the Spirit–any gifts of the Spirit–but especially those we don’t have.