Friday, November 24, 2006

Quote for the day

"We mass administer Myers-Briggs personality type and skill profile tests. Yet this misunderstands and changes the very functions of the gifts in community. Gifts are more than just one's inherent talent slots or personality traits best suited to a particular task. They are supernaturally endowed capacities to be discovered and owned within a living body of Christ. They are not merely inherent skill sets or propensities that can be tested for."—David Fitch in The Great Giveaway

<idle musing>
This has been a beef of mine for decades now. People confuse natural giftedness, which is definitely a gift from God at birth, with supernatural giftedness, which is a gift from God after rebirth. Everyone, whether Christian or not, is gifted by God at birth with certain talents. Those can be tested for, analyzed, categorized, developed, studied, whatever, to our heart's content. But, they are distinct and different from supernatural giftedness. Supernatural gifts are given by the Holy Spirit to the body of Christ for the edification of the church after regeneration.

But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love. Ephesians 4:7-17, RSV

Watchman Nee used to say that we should take people with no natural abilities and put them in positions of authority, that way they would know that they had to depend on God! I think that is going too far, but the point is valid. In my last job, I had no formal training for the position I held. Therefore, I knew I was totally dependent on God to survive. In this job, given the 13 years of college, seminary, graduate school, etc., I am able to depend on my natural skills. All too often the results are pride, unless I remember that even this is a gift of God.
</idle musing>

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