Our lifestyle means that we tend to get around, and sometimes I see more than I want to see in churches. This has led me to meditating on ‘giftings’ and ‘talent’, and whether there is a difference. I believe there is – for the Holy Spirit-filled Christian.

Talent comes to us unbidden, a product of genes, a lucky-dip package so to speak, something we are not really aware of until it is revealed by circumstance or recognized by others. A gift, on the other hand, becomes a gifting when my hand reaches out to take it even when I don’t know what it is, and I become responsible for revealing what is hidden. I know we all appreciate the thoughtful giver, that person who knows us well enough to give something delightful that we would never dream of returning to the store 😊!

The Word tells us that Christ has given many wonderful gifts to the church for the building up of Hs people. We seldom confuse great oratory with anointed preaching, and we rejoice at broken yokes and healed bodies. But when it comes to the music used in worship, it is all too easy to confuse talent for the anointing that comes with Holy Spirit gifting. If we look for holiness in the preacher, should we not also look for it in the worship team? I love music, but could it be that by putting it center stage we have made what people do more important than what they are?  I wonder how many worship teams and choirs meet regularly to humble themselves before the Lord, allowing the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit to reveal the things that grieve the heart of God. Talent can be polished to mimic the anointing, but all it produces is admiration. It doesn’t set captives free; it doesn’t heal the sick; it doesn’t change hearts.

Zachariah the prophet said that when the Messiah reigns in Jerusalem, “Holiness unto the Lord” will be on the bells of the horses, and holiness will be so much a part of everyday life that even common utensils will be holy to the Lord. Sadly, deafened by the shout for political correctness, a call to holiness is often seen as an attempt to revive legalism and bring people into condemnation. Not so! All we want is to be “Lost in wonder, love and praise” of the God who saves, heals, and delivers, not clapping for the talent on display center stage.

“When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying:

“For He is good, For His mercy endures forever.” 2 Chronicles7:1-3

This is what I long for.