is _____________ a spiritual gift?

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:

  1. 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.]
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

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6 Comments

Filed under just thinking

6 responses to “is _____________ a spiritual gift?

  1. All of us are created by God and thereby we all have talents and gifts. It is what we do with those gifts that count. I think people have gifts before they are true followers, but I see what we speak of as true spiritual gifts as those that God gives to people (believers and unbelievers) for His purpose. The thing that stands out to me is when we do not have a certain gift (or do not know that we do)-Moses is good example in several ways-God gives the gifts that we need to do His will. Are all gifts spiritual? Good one. All gifts come from God. Yeah, in my opinion all gifts are spiritual gifts but do we use our spiritual gifts to do God’s will? Hmmmm.

  2. randy morgan

    it is totally unfair (and a little irritating) to visit “aliens and strangers” and find questions.

    you are aware, i’m sure, that you have trained us (like so many pavlov’s dogs) to come to this space, day after day, to learn something. the multitudes that visit this site regularly have become accustomed to finding a treasure trove of spiritual (and trivial) insight, and you taunt us with questions.

    you will probably say, “i am provoking you to think” but you are just being irritating.

    your spiritual gift is irritation and i don’t know where it came from. stop with the questions.

  3. David Robinson

    Brett,

    I appreciate your questions…perhaps unlike Morgan. I have actually been thinking a lot about this. I will add some meat to this situation and ponder further.

    As you know, I just got a new job. As you may not know, it is kind of like a dream job for me. I never even considered it as a possibility. I am very excited about it. There are those who have told me that God has rewarded me with this job, and I just have a hard time believing that. I just have a hard time believing that God would pick me as a winner while making someone else the loser in this situation.

    I can’t believe that God makes the Broncos win because Tebow is a faithful son. I do however believe that Tebow makes the Broncos win with his drive,work ethic, and confidence. Tebow was given much and as in Matthew 25 he’s expected to provide a large return.

    I feel like we are given a large bowl of potential (kind of like your ice cream thing) except God’s kind of like my father in law with dishing out the ice cream (ice cream=potential in this allegory). When he takes his grand kids to Ben and Jerry’s he says, “you can get as much ice cream as you want…as long as you eat it all.” So the kids get three scoops and eat it all. But then, the next time, the same deal still applies. He gives us the ice cream, but he doesn’t want to see it spoil.

    whaddaya think?

    Love you guys. Hope you get out of Dar soon. You know me, I don’t care for the hot places all that much.

  4. John Gardner

    Is there a difference in “gifts”, “gifting” and “spiritual gifts”? Does not all of Father God’s creation have special gifts? Are all of these specific gifts simple included in the special nature of each or are they “spiritual” gifts. When the natural is invaded or changed / altered by the Spirit of God, now that is something else – something he gives even like the donkey talking, a fish with a coin in it’s mouth and etc. Recon?

  5. thanks, all of you, for your responses. i’m going to be writing about my thoughts some time in the future. i haven’t got them all together — and probably won’t when i write either. but still i’ll write.

    my initial thought is to ask if we haven’t been too strict in attempting to differentiate between spiritual gifts and “natural” abilities.

  6. Your questions sit in the back of my mind, irritating me like an itch that I could scratch, but I don’t…although it is really irritating.

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