Saturday Leon and I got a babysitter and went to the Lake District for the day! Ok, so we didn’t get to do any walking… but we did get to go to a leadership meeting with our family of churches in Keswick. We always enjoy them, and find them really encouraging and challenging.
This time, they talked on the subject of spiritual gifts. It wasn’t the first time they focused on this topic. In the past, they discussed how we shouldn’t neglect the gifts that God has given us (1 Timothy 4:14). This time around the meeting it was more about imparting to others the gifts we have been given by God with regards to our leadership.
The speaker was encouraging us as leaders to mentor other Christians, like the relationship that Paul had with Timothy. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to be spiritual mothers and fathers (as well as biological parents if we have kids). As these spiritual parents, he was encouraging us to help “fan into flame” our spiritual gifts, and then do the same for those we are parenting through the laying on of hands (2 Timothy 1:6-7).
At first I had a hard time with the idea of “imparting my gifts” to someone else. I thought it involved almost commanding that someone have a gift that they didn’t really want. However, the more the speaker explained it and backed it up with Scripture, the more I realised that it was in fact Biblical (1 Timothy 4:14). He also made the point that when you spend time with someone who is like-minded to you, generally, character traits of the other person will start to rub off on you—and that may include spiritual gifts.
Let me give you an example. If my mentor has the gift of encouragement, I may well receive it too because I see it in my mentor.
The speaker’s wife also shared a bit. She talked a bit about the influence that mothers have on their children’s faith, like Timothy’s grandmother and mother, who are mentioned in the passage in 2 Timothy 1. It sounds like Timothy’s faith is there because of his grandmother and mother! Yeah! Sweet words for a mother who sometimes struggles with the fact that I can’t really care for anyone spiritually while I have a baby to care for.
After the talk, we were then challenged to pray for one another to impart spiritual gifts to one another. The speaker explained that there were a couple different ways that could happen: It could be a gift that we already have that we think the Lord wants to give to someone else… Or it could be a prophetic word that we received from the Lord for a specific person to receive a specific gift of the spirit.
One thing I really appreciated about this meeting was that the focus on spiritual gifts wasn’t just the “supernatural gifts” like speaking in tongues, interpretation, healing, etc—They also recognised the spiritual gifts like hospitality or encouragement. I was happy to hear that because quite often I think the supernatural gifts are the ones that get all the focus, and they’re what people think of when they hear the words, spiritual gifts.
So this is my perspective on Spiritual Gifts and what I’m learning. What are your thoughts? Are you a spiritual parent to someone? How might you encourage someone to “fan into flame” the gift that God has given them?
I realise that this is can be a controversial topic among Christians. While I’m hoping to raise some discussion, please keep your comments appropriate. If you’re going to be unkind, I’ll delete your comment.