AMH Series // His Word is Written Across My Heart
Hey friends! You know what time of year it is? Summer. You know what that means? It means that I get to be a camp counselor for three months! It also means that the next three blogs from me are going to be camp related. Sorry, not sorry in advance for my obsession with summer camp.
I have been a counselor this summer for two weeks (plus a week of training). Camp is a 3-month season in my life where I learn lessons upon lessons upon lessons. I have 8-10 girls in my cabin every week and in all honesty, I could learn something new from each one of them. Plus what the chaplains teach us in staff devotionals. Plus what my friends on staff teach me. PLUS what God teaches me through various situations throughout the week. Multiply all those situations by ten and that’s my entire summer. LOTS of lessons!
During staff orientation my first week at Camp Geneva, we spent a lot of time learning about ourselves as leaders, other staff members as brothers and sisters in Christ, and God as (insert perfectly accurate adjective to describe God). For devotions, we all took a spiritual gift’s quiz, discovered our spiritual gifts, and learned about how to best use them.
Spiritual gifts tend to be pretty misunderstood in my opinion. On one end of the spectrum, people view spiritual gifts as only those like prayer, intercession, tongues, healing – the ones that are very obviously beyond our natural human ability. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are people who don’t believe those types of gifts exist at all anymore and tend to stick with the most sensible spiritual gifts such as leadership, help, giving, knowledge, etc.
My top spiritual gifts are pastoring/shepherding, administration, and hospitality. The pastoring/shepherding one surprised me, and the fact that I didn’t get leadership also surprised me, but God gives the spiritual gifts, not me. So I won’t disagree with Him.
Use It or Lose It
If I had to pick a “favorite” spiritual gift, it would definitely be hospitality. There is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that hospitality is one of my spiritual gifts. I love having friends over, I love hosting parties, and I love making people feel at home when they are with me.
Due to my involvement in party planning and such, I tend to associate hospitality directly with the experiences I have had in my past. I tend to box up my spiritual gifts based on what I know or have experienced about them.
Although this doesn’t sound like a bad thing, it has given me an unhealthy mindset. I tend to think about my gift of hospitality in a day-dreamy way – a future way.
I think to myself, “Oh I can use my gifts of hospitality when I get older and live on my own. I can have all my friends over for movies, I can host game-nights, I can finally make all those adorable snacks on Pinterest I have pinned. I can make people feel welcomed and comfortable in my home.”
But as I have learned in my experience with the gift of healing, the Holy Spirit doesn’t give us spiritual gifts and walk away. My spiritual gifts are not abilities that I can use to gratify myself. My spiritual gifts are given to me by God to be used for His purpose when He so desires. These gifts can be given AND taken away. I can’t bottle them up and save them, dreaming and pinteresting about them. I have to use them now.
I have realized in the last two weeks that the gift of hospitality looks different than I have imagined in my head for the future or pictured in the past. My gift of hospitality can’t wait to be used until I live in a house. Or on my own. Or until I’m married or have kids or have the time or money. God has given me the spiritual gifts I have now to be used right now. I need to learn how to use all my gifts in my current season, location, and state of being.
The season I am in right now doesn’t allow me to practice hospitality in a way that’s directly related to food and home. Hospitality right now looks more like sharing my mini-fridge with my co-counselors. Like putting up mediocre camper arts and crafts in my cabin to make my campers feel more at home. Like having a Frozen night light on in my cabin so everyone feels comfortable at night. Like going out of my way to love the person that’s the hardest to love, even if (ESPECIALLY if) I don’t want to.
Here’s the thing about hospitality – and actually all spiritual gifts – I don’t get to decide when I am going to use them. I can’t have a spiritual gift and not let the Spirit use that gift in me. I can’t hoard my spiritual gifts and use them when they are convenient for me or look the best. God isn’t exclusive about who He loves or welcomes into the family of believers. That means I can’t be either. Not with the most annoying camper ever. Not with the staff member I don’t get along with super well. Not with the person who is in the most need of my help and yet in my view is the most undeserving. I don’t get to make that call. That is up to God.
1 Peter 4:9-11 says, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
If you don’t know what your spiritual gifts are, ask God to show them to you. You can take an online quiz to learn more about the spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit has given you to bless the kingdom of God. My prayer is that no matter what your spiritual gift is, you stay in tune with the spirit so that when He calls you to use that gift, you go running to that opportunity.