Everyone has a gift. To say someone is “really gifted” is a statement of preference. It simply says we value and might even prefer a particular gift and its function. We like gifts so much we take tests to determine what gifts we might possess. They are popular, fun, and informative. Some have devoted their lives to help us discover our unique gifts. It’s become a ministry of the Church and in some cases, an industry. I haven’t seen any character tests. Most of those are conducted in private when no one is looking or listening.
Having served in the Church for the last 40 years, I have noticed something. It’s not the results of a gift-assessment test that guarantees we will leave behind a significant legacy. I have found it was the depth of a person’s character that enabled them to leave behind a legacy of significance.
The depth of our character developed in a painful maturing process is what gives our particular gift its long term influence and fruitfulness. It is not wise, nor is it healthy to ever promote gifting above character. It is a fatal flaw, and many have succumbed to its lure, both the holder of the gift and the recipients who follow the ministry of a gifted person.
Our character, not our gift is what needs nurturing. After all, a gift is given to us by the grace of God. It is a grace gift, not one we can work to produce. We can develop the qualities of a gift and the way it is delivered, but it still remains a tool graciously handed to us by God. It is only effective when carried by character and empowered by the Spirit. For a season we can function in a gift with amazing results with a deficient character, but at some point, that charade will no longer work. The development and wholeness of our gift can only thrive atop the stable platform of a healthy and whole character – a character developed while living in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.