Can’t tell you. I have none. Okay that is not entirely true, but I do resemble Bones (from the TV show) just to give you a clue as to who I am. The gift of mercy involves knowing when to punish and when not to punish. I need a definition to follow, and mine is, when the person repents stop the punishment. Punishment is to bring the person to repentance so they will not repeat the act. When the purpose, repentance, has been accomplished, no more is needed. People with the gift of mercy do not need a definition. They instinctively know what a person needs in order to be right with Christ, and can show love and compassion as soon as it is needed. That does not mean they condone sin. It just means that they are the first to see when punishment should change to much love and are quick to give it.
Don’t worry if this is not you, just be aware and jump on board when you see someone you know who flows in this gift lavishing praise and comfort on someone you recently wanted to kill and know you need to change as well. Now there are people who want to love everyone all of the time. This is not mercy, this is indiscriminate affection. It is immature since it often enables people to believe that it is okay to sin and hurt others. These people are annoying because they get in the way of others who are truly trying to help the person overcome whatever it is that is affecting their lives. A person who flows with mercy does not do this. They do not enable people. They just know exactly when to show love, how to show it so the person best receives it and when it is inappropriate to do so. They are awesome people to be around, since they are very affirming. And they are good for you since they do not flatter and lie to make you feel better. This is why it is a spiritual gift. Many can flatter and lie, or give ‘love’ to everyone, but the Bible tells us that flattery is wicked, and that there are times to punish, reprimand and leave people alone in there sin. People with the gift of mercy know this, and can give ‘love’ without forgetting that these other things need to be there as well.
The gift of apostle is a much-debated gift. Not everyone agrees as to what this is. To me, after much study of scripture, it is a church planter. The term ‘apostle’ means one who is sent out, and it implies that he has a message from someone important like a king. In scripture we see apostles planting churches, and then moving on once the church is established (and not always well established) to plant another. Many of our missionaries may have this gift. I was blessed to speak with a couple that planted over 30 churches in Europe before they went to be with the Lord. This is who I see having this gift today.
This is also not a gift my husband and I have. While we are part of a few salvation stories, we have met people who are a part of many, many other’s path to salvation.
My favorite is Pastor Bill. Now Pastor Bill is an extreme case. He could walk through a park, meet someone, lead them to the Lord, then be invited to their home to tell their spouse about the Lord (who also ‘got saved’). One day we were going somewhere with the karate club and Pastor Bill decided to tag along. We stopped for gas, and then waited, and waited for Pastor Bill to come out of the gas station. We waited so long that we had to ask why it took him so long to come out. He said that he stopped at the coffee area to get coffee when a man approached him and asked him about his hat. (Now we were all wearing the same hat, a baseball cap with the club logo on the front and Psalms 144:1 stitched across the back.) Pastor Bill explained and the man asked what he needed to do to be saved. So Pastor Bill led him through the sinner’s prayer right beside the coffee pot. (I would not be surprised if some who were listening accepted the Lord as well.) This is an example of an evangelist. Many preach the Word, but this person seems to be the one God uses to close the deal.
Another great story. There is a very famous Bible teacher who told this one. Because I will probably get some of the details wrong I won’t share her name, but the point of the story is the same. She had a friend who had the gift of evangelism who told her about her dishwasher repairman accepting the Lord when he came on a service call. Now this woman teacher was convicted, since in her ministry, which is to mature many who are already saved, she rarely sees people come to the Lord. Well lo and behold her refrigerator breaks and who does God send but a Muslim repair man. Throughout his visit the speak of the Lord, but their is no conversion. Years later her refrigerator breaks down again and the same man comes to fix it. He remembers her as a very nice woman, but he is still not saved…
Gifts are like that. Some function in the gift their whole life, others for a specific time, but we do not typically receive all of them. God likes us to work together as a body and He has a plan for everything. Just make sure you do your part!
A Word Of Knowledge:
On another occasion I looked at a Face Book picture and the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and told me that this girl was going to mean something in my son’s life. Being a Christian mom, I assumed that this was ‘the one.’ No. This was the girl he had already gotten pregnant and wanted nothing to do with. I would have this girl in my home for a time while the two of them tried to make things work out, and be there for the birth of the baby. The Holy Spirit prepared me to handle this situation and accept the girl with love, but did not promise everything I read into the message. In retrospect I again realized how much I had assumed. I had added to what the Lord had told me in my mind.
Same son, different day, a long time ago. We had just adopted this son, and he had asked to go upstairs to his room to do his math homework because it was too noisy for him downstairs. This seemed like a reasonable request so I allowed it. As I was making dinner the word ‘calculator’ popped into my head. I knew it was true, but the boy in question had been in so much trouble that I hesitated, not wanting to add one more thing to the list of things he had been in trouble for lately. But I knew it was from God, so I called him down. Sure enough, all of his work with fractions had answers that were not fractions, but decimals, always to eight digits, a sure sign that a calculator is being used. Because he was so stunned the conversation was brief, but it made an impact. This, and a few other times things like this have happened, now have my adult son saying, ‘God always tells my mom…’ (But He does not do the same thing for my non-adopted kids!)
A Word of Wisdom
Knowledge is knowing something when you should not. Wisdom is knowing how to apply it. King Solomon showed wisdom when he asked the women to cut the baby in half knowing that the true mother could not allow this to be done. Now it may not have been the birth mother who stopped him (ever think about that, adoptive mothers often have!). But it was the mother who cared the most for the baby’s safety, and the one the baby would do best with. This is a true ‘mother.’ And hopefully it was the one who gave birth to the boy, because that is how it should be.
Wisdom is therefore the ability to apply God’s laws to difficult situations. Many people know the Word, but not everyone can apply it well.