Losing your gift

Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Don Henley and Glen Frey of the Eagles once said they would continue with the band as long as the songs kept coming — they feared that someday they would lose the inspiration that made the songs possible. At the end of their run, the songs did not come very easily, which is why their last album was entitled the Long Run — writing and recording had become a painful grind and burden.

We often think the word prophesy means prognostication, but the New Testament definition is broader than that. It means discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the purposes of God, whether reproving and admonishing the wicked, comforting the afflicted, or revealing hidden things. For today’s Church, it means teaching and preaching the Word of God with authority and insight.

In that sense, I once had the gift of prophesy. I taught a well attended and received adult Sunday School, and I pastored two churches that loved me and my messages. It was easy back then because God’s inspiration had made it that way. I was never at a loss for a sermon — indeed, I could not preach all the sermons I would have liked. I had the gift of prophecy but that gift has left me now. Recently I have tried to write some sermons, but they are never coherent and I fail to complete them. I have no desire to teach Sunday school — I don’t have anything worthwhile to say. This lassitude is probably because of my IBS and my brain fog (impaired cognitive ability), but I will never know for sure.

In the Old Testament, the Lord departs from King Saul (1 Samuel 18:12) and from that point forward his reign is cursed. In some ways I feel like King Saul. I once had the blessing and the gift of prophesy but now it has departed.

Lord, I thank you for the gifts and the blessings that I do have, and let me never take them for granted.

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