Are Your Gifts a Blessing or a Curse?

 
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“And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.’” Numbers 20:12

Your greatest strengths (gifts) can become your greatest weaknesses (curses). The same staff that brought Moses out of Egypt kept Moses in the wilderness. With the staff he split the Red Sea but with that same staff he hit the rock twice. As a result, Moses could not enter into the Promised Land.

Isn’t it fascinating? That Moses would use the staff to set the Israelites free from slavery, yet that same staff would prevent him from walking into the promises of God?

The staff symbolizes Yahweh’s power. It was a gift from God that was meant for leadership, miracles, signs and wonders to demonstrate the power of God’s Kingdom. So this begs the question: what made this staff work for or against Moses?

Character.

If your gift is the sword that pierces, your character is the hand that wields the sword. Without character, your strength and gifts can become incredibly dangerous. With character, it becomes a mighty force of strength to be used for the glory of God.

My Personal Story

I have had moments in my life where my gifts went ahead of my character. I have been put in situations and platforms where my gifts actually became a weakness because my character could not sustain me.

There was a time when I was serving on a church leadership team and I kept disagreeing with my supervisor. I felt what he was doing was inefficient and there were better ways to execute the vision. In that moment, instead of my leadership gift becoming a source of encouragement to him, it turned into judgment and arrogance. Rather than coming alongside him in humility and honor, my immaturity brought tension between the two of us.   

Christians and their Character

This is so important for Christians to understand and understand early. Many of us are trying to hone in on our gifts. We are eager to grow in our abilities to lead, deliver, and produce. We spend hours trying to master our craft and be effective in what we do.

But more than our abilities, what sustains us? What keeps the man or woman of God on the course of life? Character. Character. Character. It is the godliness of a man or woman that dictates whether his or her gifts become a blessing or curse to others. While our gifts may be able to draw a crowd, it is our character that keeps the crowd.

Moses’ Anger: The Double-Edged Sword

If there was one thing Moses struggled with, it was anger. The Bible makes it clear that Moses was humble and, at times, even timid (Exodus 4:13). But O did he struggle with anger. When Moses saw an Egyptian mistreating a Hebrew, he took matters into his own hands and ended up killing him (Exodus 2:11-12). It was his anger that caused Moses to make the Israelites melt and drink the golden calf and shatter the Ten Commandments on the floor (Exodus 32:20). But the pinnacle of his anger was when he hit the rock twice out of frustration and anger (Numbers 20:11).

What makes this even more fascinating is that God still used Moses when he disobeyed God. God said, “Tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water” (Numbers 20:9). Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses hits it twice but water still came out. What can we learn from this? Just because God uses someone, it does not mean they are obeying the Lord. Gifts and character are two different things.  

More surprisingly though, as much as his anger was a weakness, it was also one of his greatest strengths. God had put inside Moses a disdain for injustice. Moses could not stand seeing God’s people in slavery and bondage. God had deposited in Moses a heart for righteousness, which caused him to get angry when the Israelites would turn to other gods. In many ways, this anger was a derivative of his leadership that played a great strength to his ministry.

When wielded rightly, it proved to be a great source of hope and strength to God’s people. However, when his anger rose to a level beyond what his character could sustain, it prevented the blessings of God to flow into his life. It prevented him from walking into the land of Canaan. Therefore, rather than denying our personal traits, we should instead submit ourselves and our gifts before the Lord so he may be glorified and his people may be blessed.

Learn the Lesson of the Wild

As I reflect on my past experiences, I can empathize and relate to Moses’ life and the lessons he learned in the wilderness. In hindsight, if I had the character to embrace the differences between my supervisor and myself, we could have made a powerful Kingdom impact. As I recall those days, I now realize that my supervisor and I were gifted differently. We needed each other. If I had the character we could have worked together. The Lord is and continues working on my character for me to become all that He has called me to be.

 

William Chung (@willkchung) is a husband, soon to be father and the founder of The Meeting Place TMP . He received his B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies at Biola University, M. Div. at Talbot School of Theology and is currently pursuing a D. Min. at Dallas Theological Seminary. 

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