Charisma in Every Gift
At the beginning of my walk with Christ, over 34 years ago, I met several new charismatic friends. They excitedly told me about the gifts of the spirit, such as healing, and miracles. Soon their enthusiasm rubbed off and I was also desiring these gifts. I didn't have any idea what it meant, but it all sounded so wonderful!
That night, as I laid down to sleep, I heard a loud blast of many trumpets in my ear. It scared me, and I jumped up. The trumpet in the ear wasn't a gift they had told me about, yet somehow I knew I had heard the voice of an angel. And I knew what he was saying; "seek not the gifts, but the giver".
I didn't understand this, so the next day as a few of us were driving through town, I told them about the experience. I wanted them to explain. They all got somber and quiet. At the time, I didn't understand why. Now I know. They had let themselves get carried away. The message was clear; keep your priorities straight. Your first love must be for the Lord. I trust they listened and obeyed. I certainly did.
And now I see that desiring gifts is also good. 1 Cor 12:31 reads, "Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way." This most excellent way is love. And these many years later, the voice of the angel reminds me that loving the Lord, attempting to know him and relinquishing full control to Him, must be preeminent in our desires.
When we surrender full control to the Lord Jesus, He will use us to express His goodness, which will be expressed through the gifts.
What is a gift? Simply put, it is a favor one receives without any merit on his own. (Strong's definition).
In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul described gifts which are often referred to as the motivational gifts, including serving, teaching, hospitality, giving, and mercy.
In comparison to healing and miracles, these motivational gifts don’t seem so glamorous. Cleaning toilets? No wonder the motivational gifts don't get us so excited! However; I have a feeling that new oxygen is about to be breathed into these so-called motivational gifts.
There is more to these gifts than meets the eye.
The Greek word that fuels these motivational gifts is the word, Charisma. This is exactly the same word that fuels the gift of healing and miracles in 1 Cor 12.
We all know that it is possible for a person with the gift (Charis) of teaching to teach out of their own mind, imparting information and, if we’re lucky, some entertainment to keep us from falling asleep.
It is also possible for that same teacher to break open spiritual revelation and impart grace to the listener. This grace is the portion of the gift that was not received through any merit (hard work, study, etc.). It is the supernatural quality which transcends natural understanding. The teacher may be teaching on communion, yet the listener may come under conviction to repent of secret sin. The teacher may be teaching on the gifts, yet the listener may hear a call to missions. This is the nature of grace. It is bigger and better than what we are capable of on our own.
God's word accomplishes what He intends. And His grace is so big, it is not constrained by the literal meaning of the teacher's message. This is wonderful. It is also instructive in the other motivational gifts.
If a teacher can teach in the natural, and also in the spirit, then I propose that someone can serve both in the natural and in the spirit. And if one serves in the spirit, then the outcome can be more than clean toilets.
Imagine the possibilities.
Someone I know received their life call while sitting on a toilet. Why a toilet? Perhaps the person who cleaned that toilet had the gift (charis) of serving and grace ran over and above the sparkle. A life was transformed.
Several weeks after I had met my first charismatic friends, our pastor was teaching on the gifts. Up until then, I had still not performed any miracles and at the end of the service I asked the Lord, "what is my gift?" I was surprised when I heard an answer; "you have the gift of giving".
I was disappointed. I wanted to raise the dead.
Yet my understanding of giving has expanded to include grace, that element of giving which goes beyond the dollar value printed on the money. Now when I give, I pray over the money. I pray for favor to come upon the recipient, that they would always have the ability to say 'yes' to God, no matter what. That they would fulfill their purpose and destiny. That they would be healed and be made whole. That their marriage would stand the test of time. That they would live in joy. That a manifestation of God's grace would express itself in a way the money cannot .
It is my opinion that every gift should be the subject of commissioning, impartation & training. Not just how to clean toilets, but how to be a conduit of God's grace.
When a teacher teaches in the spirit, the word which is released contains a measure of God’s grace (charis). In this case, the words could then be thought of as containers of power, with the ability to accomplish God's intent and purpose, which surely extends beyond the limited meaning in the preacher's words.
In the same way, you can show hospitality in the natural. But, your hospitality can also be a release point for God’s grace. It is possible that this particular flavor of grace cannot be released into the world through any other gift. That’s why the church must express multiple gifts and why we need them all.
As we prepare for the coming great harvest and the influx of a billion souls into the church, it is imperative that every one of us grow into spiritual parents, and become containers of his presence, poured out on those around us.
According to Romans 12:6, if we must prophesy according to our faith, perhaps we should also serve, give and show mercy according to intentional faith. If we do that, maybe our ministry will leave the world not just temporarily brighter, but permanently transformed, according to God's unlimited power to do the impossible.