After reading yesterday’s blog post about spiritual gifts, my anonymous male friend decided to reveal his secret identity and add his own thoughts to the discussion.
Abe Kobylanski has his own blog at Images and Words. He writes about everything from bachelorhood, to sports, to that one Rob Bell book that he never read (but is still outraged by). I think you’ll enjoy his witty writing style, and I hope you’ll be encouraged by what he has to say!
Ahh, spiritual gifts.
There are some pretty awesome spiritual gifts out there. My favorite is discernment, because there’s nothing like going into a temple and turning over some tables, and telling some money changers to get out of my Father’s house. In other words, it sounds like it would be fun to get to tell other people they’re wrong. Then there’s leadership, because, honestly, who doesn’t want to be in charge, and know they’re going to succeed? What about prophecy? Everyone wants to be able to give other people advice. Everyone wants to be infallible. Everyone wants to be Pope Elvis.
If you have one or more of these spiritual gifts, then ding, ding, ding! You’re a winner! Time to go conquer the world for Jesus. On you go, Christian soldier.
But what if your spiritual gifts happen to be kindness and helping? What if those are yours, and you’re a guy?
I admit, I struggle at times having these as my spiritual gifts. The church seems to use a lot of language about conquering things. “We are more than conquerors,” “Fight for Jesus,” that sort of thing. Now, if that’s your thing, I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong. And people of both genders can find strength in this.
But as a man, who is encouraged to conquer things, I sometimes feel a little weak knowing this is what people expect of me and that it’s just not something I am made to do.
And by weak, I mean I feel like a wuss.
I feel like I’m not up to doing the things God made me to do as a “man.”
I don’t have any desire to go kill a boar with my bare hands and eat raw pork flesh straight. Does that make me unmanly? I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier. Does that emasculate me?
I can’t threaten people to get them to see my side of the argument, I want to help people by showing them there is a better way of doing things. As much as I want to kick ass, that’s not me, and it’s not what I do.
But sometimes I really wish that was me. I wish I could kick ass, I really do. Being kind isn’t cool. You can’t really do anything with that. You can’t conquer the world with kindness. You can’t lead by being kind.
Then again, Jesus really didn’t do much ass kicking (unless you count when he had to get his donkey moving). For an Almighty God descending upon the world to stomp out evil with a sandaled foot, he kind of downplayed it.
Jesus helped people. He worked with the poor and lepers, people who needed help. When the Jews were all like “Jesus, a little help with the Romans, buddy?” He said, “let the little children come to me.” When they said “Jesus, get your sandals a-stompin’!” He said, “This temple will be destroyed, and it will be rebuilt in three days.”
Jesus led with kindness. He conquered the world with kindness. Jesus was a man. Moreover, He was God. We would all do well to be so kind.
So, while at times, the fact that my spiritual gifts are kindness and helping bothers me and makes me feel weak, Jesus’ example reminds me that kindness is not the same as weakness. Kindness is strength.
Kindness is self-confidence. Kindness is the security that I am blessed by the creator enough that I have more than I need to succeed. I am so blessed that I can give to others out of my excess. And I can be an example for Christ to a fallen world. I can do this by giving happily and expecting nothing in return. I can do this by respecting others’ opinions when I disagree. And I can do this by accepting those considered the least among society.
Kindness is a virtue. And it is very manly (or womanly).