So last week, we laid some groundwork on spiritual gifts and vocations, examining our priesthood in a professional light. As for today, I want to apply some gridwork with respect to our influencing identity.
To do this, we need to accept a few core truths about God and how He’s created us:
- We are all designers, developers, and/or managers¹ (grid #1).
- The reason for this validates the existence of the Trinity (grid #2).
- The reason for this confirms our receipt of ascension (i.e. apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, elder, deacon) gifts.
- Each ascension gift (Ephesians 4) has a corollary designer/developer/manager counterpart.
Let’s break this down further by matching Grid 1 to points 3-4…
- Designer (God the Father)
- Developer (God the Son)
- Manager (God the Holy Spirit)
Combined with Ephesians 4…
- Designer – __Apostle__
- Designer/Developer – __Prophet__
- Developer/Designer – __Evangelist__
- Developer – __Teacher__
- Developer/Manager – __Pastor__
- Manager/Developer – __Elder__
- Manager – __Deacon__
A few quick points/reminders before I continue…
- The goal of this series is to help you discover your unique intelligence and giftings within your vocation.
- These lists apply to everyone, not just the ‘spiritually elite’.
- To simply comparisons, we are going to add ‘elders’ and ‘deacons’ to the ascension gift pastoral cluster so we can match 7 gifts with 7 functions.
- While Grid 1 represents the three principle leadership styles, no question there are many more subcomponents worthy of discussion. Perhaps I’ll unpack some of them later on; for now, let’s focus on these filters and proceed.
- Concerning the Trinity, the designer, developer, and manager roles imply core function, not sole function. While each member has a primary role (be it governing, stewarding or convicting), this doesn’t mean secondary modes of service are neglected.
Having said all that…let’s take our accountant friend from ‘part 1‘. While he may equip through an apostolic anointing particularly in his vocation, there may be times he imparts as a prophet and/or evangelist¹. Why? Because while the core of his apostolic function is to bring vision and direction to people², the purpose of his function is to call forth destiny.
As such, it’s important we make a critical distinction before digging deeper…
While your leadership profile may default to a particular ranking, your leadership isn’t contained to it.
Like many behavior assessments, one’s approach to giftings and function should not be fixed within a vacuum but should be fluid within an established rhythm. After all, God creates order but isn’t subjected to it.
For instance, as we’ll go through in ‘part 3’, you may possess an elder/deacon or deacon/pastor vocational profile but may find yourself in a prophetic moment during a counseling session. In this situation, you may feel uncomfortable operating outside your ‘gift wheelhouse’; however, ask yourself what’s more important: Being Spirit-led or strength-driven?
As Scripture confirms, whatever your strengths are, they should never be what leads you or what you rely on.
“The Lord is my strength and song, and he has become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him a habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” ~ Exodus 15:2 (ESV)
“The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11 (ESV)
“The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Whoever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 (MSG)
As the Psalmist declares, God gives strength for strength…because He is our strength. Accordingly, we can be certain what He provides whether gift, function or vocation follows a similar line. Like strength, the reason we don’t have to worry about work being our identity is because the Lord is our source of identity. From the beginning of time, we were called with a progression to profession, with an occupational heritage by which to bless people. Why not accept the fact God is not only in what He appoints but is what He appoints as well?
As you journey this week, remember you are part of a royal priesthood maturing towards a promised land. Even if you feel you’re working in a desert or wilderness, remember you can embrace strength and intimacy with God through weakness. You can take hold of His sustenance through the marketplace manna He provides. And you can press on as walls of territorialism dissolve into radical equality…all because you know a) You’re loved by God and b) The reason we’re diverse in function/co-equal in value is so we can participate in God’s goodness while uniquely showcasing His glory throughout the earth.
Looking ahead to next time, I’ll finally debut the 7 vocational profiles (apostle, evangelist, prophet, pastor, teacher, elder, deacon). ‘Til then, you got this and we’re here for you rooting you on.
- Among other ascension gift possibilities
- Especially in his place of profession