Perhaps you read the title to this post and thought, “finally, the brothers on the porch are going to chop it up about speaking in tongues and miraculous healing.” Well…I am sorry to disappoint, but I do hope you continue reading. In fact, your assumption is partly why I am writing this post. Most people when the topic of spiritual gifts comes up, immediately race to the miraculous ones. We want to debate cessation vs. continuance. “Are the gifts of healing and speaking in tongues for the church today?”
We race to these debates and questions, giving little thought to the, if I could use such a term, “ordinary” spiritual gifts.
We are enamored with the extraordinary. Fixated on the miraculous. In 1989, the Christian group Commissioned, released a popular song entitled “The Ordinary Just Won’t Do.” Despite the undeniable reality that the brothers can blow, I am not so sure the song was very helpful in eliminating our cultural proclivities. The song in many respects gave fodder to our obsession with the miraculous and extraordinary.
Take a look at the lyrics in the chorus:
The ordinary just won’t do,
I need a love that’s pure and true,
I can always find it in you, Jesus,
The ordinary just won’t do,
I gotta have a touch from you,
I can always find it in you, Jesus.
Commissioned had in mind the comfort that comes from knowing Christ. Their desire was to highlight the faithfulness of our Savior — that when everyone has abandoned you, when there is nowhere to turn, Jesus is there. Indeed, the truth of Jesus’ faithfulness provides great comfort and peace. Unfortunately, because we are so consumed with looking for the miraculous, we forget, and perhaps over, look God’s means for making his presence felt. Namely, in the company of his people.
This is a post calling attention to those spiritual gifts that tend to go unnoticed. But Romans 12:3-8 certainly calls us to cherish these gifts; gifts that are indeed Spirit given, and thus, far from “ordinary.” They are the gifts that God grants to his church in order to edify her and grow her up (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12). In fact, many times the ordinary gifts of the church are just what we need for the comfort and encouragement we desire.
So instead of looking for the miraculous gifts, let’s acknowledge the gifts that are fully on display in our congregations, if we would just take time to look.
Those gifted in the area of service, who patiently and joyfully care for the children in the nursery. Men and women who labor in the parking lot, Sunday after Sunday. Or the saints with smiles and a warm inviting hand shake or hug who greet people at the door.
Those with the gift of administration who see chaos and disorganization, and with a few processes, strategic moves, and spreadsheets, can have things running like a well-oiled machine.
Those who encourage without even knowing they are doing it.
Men and women who have the innate ability to gather groups of people, creating opportunities for community, fellowship, and discipleship.
Those with the gift of hospitality who always seem to have a house full, and you feel welcomed and loved when you are there.
God gives all these gifts and much more to his church. If you have the privilege of serving in congregations where these gifts are on display, honor these individuals. Draw attention to them. Perhaps it might change our fascination with the miraculous, and cause us to see the encouraging, Spirit wrought gifts God has placed in our midst. You may find the “ordinary”, just might do!