Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Gifts

And when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. (Acts 11:26 NIV)

So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. (Nehemiah 8:2, 3 NIV)

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:27-31 NIV)


The list is in order of importance: “First of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers…” Being a teacher is one of the greater gifts. “Are all teachers?” That is one of the rhetorical questions. The answer is “No.” “But eagerly desire the greater gifts.” We are told to desire, and desire eagerly the greater gifts. A teacher is one of these greater gifts.

Over the years I have listened to many people who have wanted to be in “full-time Christian service.” Very few have wanted to be in evangelism. They say that they do not have the gift of evangelism. They want to be teachers, disciplers. However, they do not say that they do not have the gift of being a teacher. But they might not have it. They are going to be trained to teach, and they are going to learn what to teach. They are going to sidestep the desire for the gift and get trained instead.

It is amazing. Evangelism requires the gift, and teaching requires only training. Ungifted teachers is one of the major hindrances in the church today.

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1 NIV)

“Eagerly desire the greater gifts.”

“Not many of you should presume to be teachers.”

Contradiction? No! One is a desire for a gift from God. The other is a presumption.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

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