“Gifts are free, but maturity is expensive.” – Bill Johnson
I read this today and haven’t been able to stop thinking about the truth in it. This truth really applies to all kinds of gifts. I thought about the gifts people give their kids that can simply be toys or can become tools used to make them a living one day. Think about it! A little boy receives a new baseball bat. He can use that bat to hit balls in the backyard or he can use it and grow in his skills and one day become a Major League baseball player…but it will take dedication and hard work. Or what about the little girl who receives her first Easy Bake oven and eventually moves on to own her own cake decorating business. I wonder how many school teachers started out in life “teaching” their dolls. What once was child’s play becomes a way of life. How many mechanics began with a plastic hammer and screw driver? All gifts they were given that became much more as they grew up. All gifts that sparked something that took a level of maturity to turn into something more.
This stage in my spiritual journey has brought me to a place where the spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible are still active today. I did not grow up in a place that believed they are all for this day and time, but the more I read and learn and experience on my journey, the more I am convinced that they are for today. I don’t find any compelling reason to believe otherwise. I find too many reasons and evidences that the Holy Spirit still moves in power thru every means that he did when He was first given to the believers in the book of Acts.
I have noticed that there seems to be a lot of training surrounding spiritual gifts and that has been curious to me. I sat across the table from a friend a few months ago who has a mature faith and belief in some of the gifts that I am just now being exposed to…gifts that I would like to grow in. My question to her was why is there training for spiritual gifts. If they are given to us by the Holy Spirit, why do we need to be trained in their use? Wouldn’t that come “naturally” or uh, supernaturally if they are from the Holy Spirit? She explained it in terms of giving birth and the process of desiring to be a mom all the way until the baby is born. There is a process that brings the baby from a thought to a fully developed baby. It made sense to me.
Then I read this quote and another piece of understanding was cemented in. Even the gifts that are more widely acknowledged as “for today” require use and training to be developed into something mature. The more they are used, the better they become. Even the people I know with a gift for teaching or preaching have gone thru some type of training to become better at what they do. The more they teach or preach, the better they become. What about administrators? They grow in their gifts the more they use them. They become more mature.
So, why would any of the other spiritual gifts be any different? It makes sense to me that the more you walk in the use of a gift that you have been given, the greater your faith would be for that gift. It makes sense to me that the more you believe God is working thru you and the more faith you have to trust Him, the greater the measure of that gift that He will trust you with. It makes sense that someone who has walked in the use of the gifts might be able to impart something of value to someone who has just learned that God has something special in mind for them to do that goes beyond just opening the package and playing with a new toy. It makes sense to me that if exercising my faith will move me from desiring milk to munching down on something more solid, then spiritual gifts would work the same way.
So…here’s to growing up and maturing and moving from Easy Bake Ovens and plastic hammers!