Bells are ringing, people singing, and joy reigns throughout the land!. Once again the Spiritual Gifts Commissary (SGC) has convened and after much deliberation and consultation, they are prepared to introduce a fresh new batch of spiritual gifts you won’t find in the Bible.
A spiritual gift is an unusual ability not explained in terms of natural talents. Through spiritual gifts, the Holy Spirit manifests the life and power of Christ through ordinary believers in extraordinary ways. Different lists of them are found in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4.
A few years ago George Barna reported that when asked what their spiritual gifts were, 21% of Evangelicals listed gifts that are not mentioned in the Bible. I was intrigued with the possibilities, so I made up a list of my own.
Then last year, the SGC rolled out the 2011 edition. Seriously, why limit yourself to the Bible when you may actually have the gift of complication, confusion, or criticism?
Based on observations of Christians’ behavior patterns world-wide, the SGC is proud to offer these 10 manifestations as the latest installment of spiritual gifts you won’t find in the Bible. This many believers can’t be wrong. Right? Here they are in alphabetical order:
People with the gift of denial manifest supernatural not-me skills, and they’re quite persuasive. They can convince you that they can quit anytime, it’s not their fault, they didn’t mean to, or they don’t feel led. It’s easy to identify this gift. If you think someone has it, just tell them – “You have the gift of denial, don’t you?”
“I do not!”
This works really well in convincing people that the church where they attend isn’t really dead or dying, just holding on to the traditions that once made it great.
This is one of the verbal gifts, along with prophecy, tongues, and the like. The gift of embellishment empowers people to give heart-wrenching, jaw-dropping accounts of everything from Jesus walking on the water to the latest building fund report.
This is especially useful to counter the accusation that Christians or churches are boring and irrelevant. When somebody lets loose with a word of embellishment, there isn’t a dry eye in the place or anybody leaning back in a pew. Flush with a verbal arsenal of words like “life-changing,” “amazing,” or “God was all over this place,” embellishers have a grip on shooting from the hip. Dull factual details or accuracy checks take a back seat to stories too supernatural not to be true.
I have a friend who testifies he has this gift. It’s really useful when he’s put in situations where he needs to forgive someone for being a jerk or giving him the right foot of fellowship. The Spirit just sort of erases it from his whatever cortex, and he’s kinda like Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates or Rachel McAdams in The Vow, only without the brain damage.
This isn’t to be confused with somebody who “forgets” to give the pastor a raise or “forgets” a commitment. People with the true gift of forgetting can actually lead non-forgetters to move on from their offenses and past failures by helping them focus on something more useful. Like one lady said of a past offense: “I distinctly remember forgetting that.” Yep. She had the gift.
Confused sometimes with being a perfectionist, people with the gift of improvement are divinely empowered to look back and figure out how something could have been better. One version of this is the preacher’s “best friend,” who waits until the line dies down after the sermon to offer a one-liner or tidbit of profound wisdom that, if only the preacher had known prior, would have revolutionized the sermon.
People with this gift are awesome sources of feedback for how an event could have been better, the music more moving, or the committee more productive. Unfortunately, this anointing is so powerful, it completely exhausts the improver. So they usually leave it up to paid staff or people with the gift of service to actually implement any of their profound spirit-led constructive criticism.
Did you know that some people are pointed and anointed to speak only in questions? You didn’t? Why not? Don’t you believe that’s an effective form of communication? Don’t you know that some of the most effective sages down through history did this? Ever hear of Socrates? You don’t get out much, do ya? Where do you go when you do get out? Who do you do it with? Do you have an accountability partner? Does he or she really hold you accountable?
Do you know anybody with the gift of interrogation? Well? Do ya?
You just thought they were rude. But this could be the Spirit’s empowerment to change the subject when it gets too awkward, cut the tension when the conversation gets a little heated, or help the preacher out when things get a little sleepy in church. People with this gift can finish your sentences when you don’t have a clue what you’re trying to say. More importantly, they get people to completely forget what they were saying. This is very helpful when what they were saying didn’t amount to anything.
Like a lightning rod diverts electricity from a building, interrupters attract all the negative energy toward themselves by making random statements or crazy jokes in the middle of a serious moment. But there is nothing random or crazy about it. Spirit-crazy like a fox, I’m telling you.
If ever a gift equipped people to sneak into the enemy’s camp, this is it. Matching empowers you to momentarily check your brain at the door of glory and mirror what somebody else says or thinks. Here’s how it may sound in conversation:
Matcher: I think the Phillies will win it all this year.
Matched: No, it’s the Rangers’ turn.
Matcher: I think the Rangers will win it all this year.
It sounds like a lack of intelligence or free thought. But the matcher is actually pacing with his partner so he can later share Christ or kapow him with electric spiritual truth.
Those believers you thought had gone over to the dark side because they listened to Elvis records? Voted Democratic? Joined a liturgical church? Fear not! They’re just manifesting their matching ministry.
People with this gift are supernaturally empowered to argue with everything. Think of them as spirit-filled devil’s advocates:
Unwitting Suspect: What a beautiful day! Birds singing, blue sky, it’s my kind of day!
Mismatcher: Yeah, well, it’s raining somewhere.
Unwitting Suspect #2: I really feel blue and useless.
Mismatcher: That’s not true. You’re priceless to me and God loves you.
This may sound like the Spirit is making somebody naturally contrary, but this gift is extremely useful. It sure keeps church business meetings interesting! It keeps gloomy, pessimistic people exposed to the brighter side. It keeps proud people humble and gives confidence to those who lack it. Best of all, it makes people think. They may be thinking about wringing the mismatcher’s neck, but at least they’re thinking.
Momument builders for the Kingdom! This is an ancillary to the gift of healing. People with the gift of nostalgia have a wonderful way of reminding people and churches of their rich heritage and traditions. Every Sunday is Old Fashioned Day to them. They miss the days of solid wooden pews and good ‘ol’ Bible preaching from yesteryear.
Why is this helpful? Because those pews were half-empty and the preacher from yesteryear was public enemy number one while he was here. People with the gift of nostalgia help people forget their past pain by reminding them of a simpler, more pleasant time. They help people yearn for heaven by longing to go back to yesterday. This is especially useful just after they’ve crucified the latest prophet or advocate for change.
Word of Ignorance
If there is a gift called Word of Knowledge, surely there must be a Word of Ignorance to go with it. The word of ignorance keeps people humble. This is important because as we all know, God resists the proud.
People with this gift know that people in general can’t stand awkward silence. And since the Lord never wants anybody to feel awkward (or be silent, apparently), He endows people with the word of ignorance to break the silence by saying something… anything.
The word of ignorance is also useful in mobilizing some believers to rally against the devil’s crowd. If a word of knowledge or truthful information won’t work, the word of ignorance is remarkably powerful at getting people to take a stand. Amen!
Well, there you have it. Another 10 possibilities for your consideration. If you don’t have one or all of these gifts, I’ll bet you know somebody who may.
Truthfully, I’m still thinking I’ll stick to the ones in the Bible. But maybe that’s just me uttering a word of ignorance.