((from Jessica))

We are thankful Billy Graham used his gift of Evangelism.

We are grateful Mother Teresa used her gift of Mercy.

We are thankful C.S. Lewis used his gift of Wisdom.

We are grateful Martin Luther King Jr. used his gift of Exhortation.

We are thankful Corrie Ten Boom used her gift of Faith.

We are grateful Nabeel Qureshi used his gift of Prophecy.

We are thankful Elisabeth Elliot used her gift of Teaching.

And we are grateful Dwight L. Moody used his gift of Knowledge.

Christianity has spread. His Kingdom has advanced. Our world has been changed. And we have been blessed by these influential and faithful sheep who have bravely and boldly used their Shepherd-given gifts.

And during their funerals and after their deaths, what do we talk about? How do we remember them? What covers the pages of their bios? We remember the deeds prompted by their God-given gifts.

Throughout Scripture, the Lord not only talks about the various Spiritual Gifts and their uses, but He repeatedly admonishes His people to use them for the edification of the body and for the work of the Kingdom.

1 Peter 4:10 reads, As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen

The Shepherd has given His flock gifts; He wants us to be good stewards of those gifts; and He wants us to strive for His glory and His gain as we employ them. But we can’t steward or serve with those gifts if we don’t know them, and we can’t bring Him gainful-glory unless we’re faithfully using them.

So what about me? How has God gifted this sheep?

Well, over the course of my life, I have taken multiple Spiritual Gift tests, and the results are pretty much the same.

Teaching, Discernment, Knowledge, and Exhortation 

I remember reading the results when I first took the test in college, simply trying to make sense of what they were and how I could see myself using them. And truth be told, if it hadn’t been for the Teaching result at the top of the paper, I probably would have thrown out the results as a mismatched, wrongly scored test. Sitting in a group of other freshmen women who scored high in Mercy, Serving, and Giving, I felt like a bit of an odd-duck. But since I was pursuing a B.A. in High School English Education, I felt like the stars had aligned, and I could move forward in confidence. The results indicated teaching, and I was spending thousands of dollars to be paid to be one. It worked.

But almost 16 years later (no longer a professional teacher), I found myself sitting at the dining room table last night with a slightly different set of questions from a very different perspective.

God, how have I used these gifts so far? Lord, what do you want me to do with my gifts in the next 16 years? How do you want to use me? 

As I took a trip down memory lane, fleshing out the many ways God has graciously used all four of those gifts over the course of my life, I was reminded of the predominant thread of Teaching that He has consistently used. And as I sat at the table and read the following excerpt from SpiritualGiftTest.com, I cried:

The Greek word for those with the spiritual gift of teaching is “didaskalos.” From the root of this word we get our English word, “didactic.”  The word didasko means to teach, instruct, instill doctrine, explain, and expound.  Those with the spiritual gift of teaching love to study the Word of God for extended periods of time.  They consume the Scriptures as food for their hearts, souls and minds with the expressed purpose of knowing Him and then making Him known to others.  They want to know what God has revealed of Himself and what He requires of us as people created in His image.  They take great joy and satisfaction in seeing others learn and apply the truth of God’s Word to their lives.  They love to see how the Gospel is woven throughout the Scriptures and how it glorifies and magnifies Jesus Christ in the hearts and lives of those who love Him by grace.

I cried because I felt like that paragraph described me. I cried because it felt like it described my heartbeat – the very things that make my heart pound, the very things that make my spirit blaze with excitement, the very things that make my soul feel alive. And I cried because in the past few weeks, I’ve been begging the Lord to show me “what’s next.” And He did.

Sure, I’m not teaching from a pulpit and sure, I’m not teaching from a public platform with a congregation of thousands and a following of millions, but I am and have been using this God-given gift of teaching where He has placed and planted me… now.

Sometimes it looks like opening the Word of God with children on my lap with snacks on theirs, teaching them the fundamental truths of the Gospel.

Sometimes it looks like teaching the Word (through discipleship) to a new believer over a bowl of Steel-Cut Oats on a Sunday morning in the middle of Panera.

Sometimes it looks like teaching the application of God’s Word to the struggling clients who frequent my office and cry on my couch.

Sometimes it looks like teaching to an audience of women who have gathered on a Saturday morning for an 8-hour seminar.

Sometimes it looks like teaching the Word through the written word, drafting posts and crafting blogs.

And sometimes it looks like taking the everyday and ordinary teaching moments with friends in crisis, a spouse in doubt, or a stranger who has simply shared their struggle.

Hopers, I don’t know what your gifting is and I don’t know where He’s placed you to use it, but could I suggest that you explore your gift and start employing it? Right now… right where you are… in the way He has gifted you… BLOOM, friend, BLOOM! Because though you may not be Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, or C.S. Lewis, you may be using your gift to raise, love, and care for the next Elisabeth Elliot and the up and coming MLK Jr.

And if not any of those, at the very least MOST, you are serving the KING and His KINGDOM… using your gifts as a life-long hymn of praise!

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