Is Cam Newton spiritually gifted at football?
[Don't be turned off by the sports metaphor; this post is not about Cam Newton, but rather about spiritual gifts and what constitutes such... However, if you're interested in Cam Newton (or in the BCS system, slavery, and the slaughtering of innocent children, I did write about such things here and here.]
There’s more than one question we’ve got to answer, though, concerning Cam’s possible spiritual gift. I can think of at least three, actually:
- Is natural talent really natural? Are some people actually born with far above average abilities? Or is it all learned? Or is it some of both? [This nature versus nurture debate's been around a while.]
- If skills and talents are (even in part) born into people, is it simply due to genetics, chromosomes, and/or trinkets parents wear around their necks while chanting certain spells on the days leading up to conception? Or does God play a part in these inherent abilities? Or are the two one and the same?
- If someone was indeed born with an incredible skill (or even a very strong knack for something), and if God played a part in the giving of that talent… can we consider these abilities to be spiritual gifts? [I'm thinking things like athletic prowess or musical ability.]
So… is football Cam Newton’s spiritual gift?
(I’m mostly just asking questions today. I may share my thoughts a little later, but…) Ben Cook, the friend with whom our family stayed on Thursday and Friday nights, got me thinking about this when he preached from Exodus 31 this morning.
Moses had just been given the task of building the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant and the Altar of Incense and a bunch of other uber-Godly things. And God gave him the plans with some pretty specific requirements. I’m sure Moses’ head was spinning just a bit, because he wasn’t what we’d call a handyman. Moses was terribly under qualified to build all this fancy stuff (and he’d already tried once telling the Big Guy he’d chosen the wrong man).
But then Moses got some good news. Exodus 31:1-6:
Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel… and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts — to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. Moreover I have appointed Oholiab… to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you. (bolds mine)
So are spiritual gifts only wisdom, faith, tongues, prophecy, and the like? Or is craftsmanship a spiritual gift from God? Is it possible that I have the spiritual gift of talking a lot? Or of being able to eat massive amounts of ice cream? Do non-believers possess spiritual gifts that simply haven’t yet been used for spiritual purposes? Or do true spiritual gifts come only at faith or baptism?
I realize I’m asking a lot of questions — and I’m not giving any answers (because I don’t think I’ve got any). But what are you guys thinking? Help a brother out.