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Greg Brothers is an Adventist pastor in Oregon.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

And for her birthday, she got a miter-box

This Mother’s Day, my wife is getting a table saw with a carbide blade.

It’s the perfect gift – really.

You see, my wife has spent the last three months remodeling our kitchen. She’s refinished the cabinets. Painted the walls. Picked out new countertops. And installed so many new lights that I’m sure our kitchen is now visible from the moon.

The only thing left for her now is to put in the laminate flooring – and for that, she needs a table saw.

Hence, the gift.

And if that doesn’t seem very romantic, then all I can say in my defense is that I’m doing the exact same thing as the Holy Spirit.

Check any list of the Spirit’s gifts, after all, and you’ll find He does most of His shopping at a hardware store. There are no non-essentials on this list. No luxuries. No knick-knacks, gee-gaws, or frou-frou of any kind.

Not even chocolate and a dozen roses.

No, what the Holy Spirit gives us are tools – tools to build up the church.

And yes, the Spirit provides us with all kinds of tools. Go back and compare all those lists of spiritual gifts that we find in Paul’s writings, as a matter of fact, and you’ll find that the Spirit has an even better selection than Home Depot!

And yes, the Spirit has all kinds of ways to provide us with these tools – “natural” talents, learned skills, sudden and miraculous gifts.

And yes, we should never reject any tool the Spirit gives us. To be sure, I might not see the need for an arc welder (or the gift of tongues) . . . but if the Spirit drops it off, then He must know that we’ll need it some day.

In short, the Spirit doesn’t always give us something we’ll enjoy.

But He always gives us everything we need to do the job.

And if you’re like my wife, then there’s nothing you’d rather have.

Even if it’s a table saw for Mother’s Day.

PS In teaching this week’s lesson, be careful not to get bogged down in a discussion of “tongues,” and just exactly what they may have been (or should be today). To be sure, it’s clear that “the gift of tongues” in the Book of Acts is the miraculous ability to speak a foreign language . . . but it’s not so clear what this gift might be in I Corinthians 14.

  • Some say it was the miraculous or natural ability to speak a foreign language.
  • Others say it was some kind of ecstatic “babbling” – and certainly verses 15-16 lend themselves to this interpretation.
    But in either case, the point is the same: spiritual gifts are tools that should be used to build up the church. Any other use of them is demonic.

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