4 And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. 5 That is why Christ did not honor himself by assuming he could become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God…
Just last week I said the following to a friend…
“Do you think I don’t know how much easier it would be if I were just a nice traditional Christian woman? With all the normal and acceptable (to the church) gifts that women are SUPPOSED to have? Don’t you think I know that life would potentially be less dramatic and frustrating if I wasn’t gifted both professionally and spiritually in ways that push me to leadership and compel me to speak truth? But that is NOT the reality of who I am. It is not the reality of the gifts I’ve been given. And to deny that fact would be disrespectful to God and unkind to me.”
Then today I read the Hebrews passage above.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not delusional. I don’t think I’m a “high priest”….at least no more than any other believer (1 Peter 2:9). And I would not even begin to compare my life to the saving work of Jesus. But hear me out…
No one chooses her gifts. We don’t wake up and say “Today I will be a prophet” or “I think I’d like to use my gift of healing now please.” It doesn’t work that way. Similar to what the author of Hebrews indicates….we don’t get a gift simply because we want the honor.
Instead we are called. We are given a gifting. And while I can’t speak for others, once I knew what my gifting was, there was no doubting it or replacing it with something more suitable. There is no denying the gift even in the face of opposition. There is no pretending you must be mistaken. It is not a question without an answer.
A time or two over the past several years I have cried out to God and said “I’d like a trade please.” I’d like to trade boldness and the ability to teach for something..umm…perhaps more traditionally acceptable to the church. I’d like to trade leadership and intuition for an affinity to teach cradle roll. I’d like the gift of hospitality to come naturally to me the way that the gift of wisdom does. Then I could have people over without worrying about the food and perhaps without doling out advice that hits so close to home that I seem creepy. Maybe a nurturing nature or the desire to be someone’s mommy instead of the ability to shepherd. If only I could write and teach for an audience of women exclusively rather than knowing that the things I write about are not intended for one gender. I wish the idea of planning a ladies retreat didn’t make me feel itchy while guiding decision-making sessions in a church business meeting is as natural as my curly hair.
But…what I hear the author of Hebrews say is that I do not get to pick my own gifts. I cannot pick that which I think would bring me honor. Or even pick that which would just allow me to fly under the radar.
For better or worse…I have received a calling.
I’m pretty sure God smiles every time I use my gifts…even when everyone else around me calls it sin, feminism, or a mistake. And let’s be honest…wouldn’t we all rather worry about eliciting a smile from God than about receiving one another’s approval? I know I would!