The Gifts, Anointing and Calling

by Morris Ruddick on May 19, 2012


© Morris E. Ruddick


“Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: ‘See, I have called by name, Bezalel. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship.’” Exodus 31:1-3

There are a variety of gifts designed for the common good. When the calling is in harmony with God’s purpose and in cooperation with the anointing, an added dimension tied to the gifts begins to unfold.

In applying our business startup program in lands of persecution, identifying an individual’s “mix of gifts” represents the starting point in the process to overcome the adversities in establishing a successful, Spirit-led business.

This mix of gifts begins with what we refer to as the natural gift. The natural gift represents something that a person can do better than most other people, when the gift has been developed. Next are the spiritual gifts. The spiritual gifts are the Romans 12 motivational gifts (teacher, exhorter, leader, giver, prophetic, mercy, server), which describe how an individual believer flows most naturally in the Spirit.

Then there is a dimension of God’s nature to create, innovate, build and multiply, that operates in varying degrees in every believer. We refer to this dynamic as the entrepreneurial gift. Not to be confused with a natural gift of being an entrepreneur, this entrepreneurial/ “creative, innovative, building” gift enhances the natural and spiritual gifts operating under the anointing, and paves new ground.

So, when these three basic elements of gifts in an individual are in right alignment, they release the exponential, which is a multiplying factor that produces results beyond normal standards of increase.

In short, the gifts are stirred and released through the anointing and become the foundation for what we call one’s destiny or calling. The sowing of the gifts will yield enlargement. The impact of the gifts multiplies when applied with the community dynamic of tz’dakah or “righteous charity.” The long-term benefit of the gifts rightly applied extends ripples of blessings to both the one bestowing and the recipients.
“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.”
Proverbs 22:29

The Dynamic of the Gifts
Many years ago, when I was in my early 30s, I was preparing myself for the calling I knew God had on my life. I had spent a year at a Christian university immersed in God’s word and in an environment designed to prepare young people to be a light where God’s light was dim. I then responded to a distinct leading of the Spirit to extend my time of preparation at a secular university.

However, I found myself in over my head with some of the required courses in statistics. These classes included candidates for both Masters and Doctorate degrees. I studied, prepared weekly assignments and even sought special help, but still simply didn’t grasp what was being presented. Despite what seemed as an impossible, uphill journey, I prayed for understanding. At one point, I came across a scripture in Psalm 119 that said: “I’ll make you wiser than your teachers.” While the potential of that word riveted me, at the time my grasp of the subject simply did not seem to be taking hold. On the night before the mid-term exam, I wept before the Lord because I felt I was going to fail and be a bad witness for the Lord.

So, despite pulling out every stop to prepare, not to speak of my despondent heart cry to the Lord the night before, I didn’t feel any better as I walked into the room to take the exam. I put my name on the exam and read the first question. It almost startled me, because upon reading that question, I seemed to have a full understanding of everything the question posed. I read the second question: same thing. It wasn’t an issue of knowing the answers: I had the understanding on what was being asked. I went through all the questions that way. While I wasn’t fully sure what had just taken place, it was with a sense of elation that I handed in the exam.

I wasn’t the first one to complete it, however. Three other grad students were in the hall complaining. The doctoral candidate who always seemed to have the answers in class was saying: “This professor is sadistic; that’s the hardest test I’ve ever had in this subject.” My elation took a dive and I began questioning what I had thought had happened to me as I had taken the exam.

A week later, the professor came into class with a handful of papers and a grim look on his face. It was our graded exams. After inferring that we were a substandard group of grape-sucking hedonists, he noted that the median grade was a 62. Then he started handing out the exams by calling the name of each student along with announcing their grade. One of the doctoral candidates had a 29 (out of 100). The star student had a 72. By the time he got to my name, I had braced myself; with little expectation for a passing grade. But after calling my name, he looked up and then back at my exam; and then announced my name again with a grade of 98.

God gave me a gift; not of a grade on the exam, but in my understanding of statistics. The word of “I’ll make you wiser than your teachers” proved to be true, as I had to go to a professor in advanced statistics for what I wound up executing for my final thesis. This “gift” became a foundation for researching and evaluating decisions in business settings and gave me entrance into the consulting business. It eventually became the foundation for my starting and operating my own consulting business, as well as sharing co-authorship on three business texts.

What took place in that exam illustrates several key spiritual dynamics needed to enter the dimension of God’s economy. The most pivotal of these dynamics is hearing and cooperating with the Holy Spirit. This is where the gifts are enhanced and become uniquely linked to the anointing and calling. I’m going to address the topic of hearing God, of applying the gifts in cooperation with the Holy Spirit for a higher purpose in another post.

What took place in that exam also reflects the Kingdom dynamic of God’s strength being manifested in our weaknesses. Still another of the dynamics bears on how the mix, or combination of gifts operate within an individual. It also illustrates how the factor of authority operates when combined with the anointing and calling to bring change; even more so when the diversity of gifts is applied within the context of community. Not to be considered least in these dynamics is the role of prevailing.

However, let’s begin by addressing how the gifts, anointing and calling are linked.

Linking the Gifts, the Anointing and the Calling
The “gifts” are foundational to one’s calling. They begin at the individual level. As the gifts are applied and mature, change begins taking root as the diversity of individual contributions melds into becoming impactful at the community level.

One’s combined gifts are developed and refined through service to others. As they are yielded to God and His purpose, then the anointing for the combined gifts is released and nurtured. The calling evolves from the individual’s mix of gifts and the anointing operating together over time. The process brings maturity to the gifts, as an individual yields himself to the Holy Spirit, refines the anointed gifts, and uses them for service in purposeful cooperation with the Lord.

Once again, the operating model was established by Abraham: the God-centered, entrepreneurial community. The entrepreneurial involves pioneers taking risks; breaking the mold and bringing increase and blessing for the common good. The purpose for the operation of the gifts then will always benefit and build community. The God-centered dimension means the Lord is actively involved as an integral part of the process, not just passively acknowledged or sought as an afterthought.

The Anointing, Calling and Gifts Working Together
So the combined gifts are developed to serve others. Proper alignment and development of the natural, spiritual and entrepreneurial will bring an exponential level of increase. As the gifts are prayerfully developed and enhanced, revelation and the anointing for the gifts will follow. The momentum that evolves from the gifts and the anointing operating together will define and release the calling. This divine interaction, faithfully applied, brings maturity to the process, as the added dimension of God’s higher purposes is unveiled.

The example I gave of my graduate school exam reflected a “natural gift.” It was only the beginning in a life-long process that began working together with my spiritual gifts to shape my calling.

My primary (Romans 12) spiritual gifts have always been that of a leader-teacher, with a secondary prophetic (intercession) gift. The focus of the gift given to me in that exam proved to be foundational to becoming a consultant (leader-teacher) and entrepreneur whose mix of prophetic insights and analytical/research-driven approach paved the way for unique problem-solving results. However, after twenty some-odd years in this consulting role, the foundation of my mix of gifts began to shift into serving another arena. That catalyst was the operation of the entrepreneurial.

The entrepreneurial gift is what gives rise to paving new ground. Again, the entrepreneurial is drawn from God’s nature within us to “create, innovate, build and multiply.” Some believers have the entrepreneurial as their primary natural gift (a special ability to spot opportunity and turn it into a business enterprise), but more often than not, the entrepreneurial is an enhancement of our combined natural and spiritual gifts operating under the anointing.

The birth of the SIGN ministry that targeted first understanding God’s heart; and from that what we refer to as the Issachar context (understanding the times and knowing what to do) began releasing an entirely new dimension into my life-purpose and calling. While I have had secular consulting clients in the past who have commented that the Conclusions/Recommendations to my assignments have been prophetic; the two-plus decades of experience of working with senior decision-makers in multinational and Fortune 500 companies cultivated not only a planning mind-set, but a scrutiny and excellence that now was being applied to embracing God’s heart in an effort to discern the tempo of the times with the intention of gleaning insights into strategically responding spiritually as a Body.

From this foundation in the mid-90s came a focus and a perspective from the posts I sent out from SIGN. Parenthetically, it should be noted that one of the charges the Lord gave me in developing these posts was that I was NOT to be reading or listening to what any other spiritual leaders were saying on these topics. My primary source of input for the first four years of the SIGN ministry was the Word of God and my prayer closet. From that came my first marketplace books. Then from those books was birthed the God’s economy entrepreneurial program that we have taken around the world, but with a focus given to lands of persecution and corruption.

Prevailing with the Gifts
While the example of my grad school mid-term clearly illustrates the importance of prevailing in reaching for and paying the cost for the individual gift; the example of a career as a market planning consultant that has transitioned into a unique global niche ministry punctuates the importance of continuing to seek the Lord (and His anointing) in allowing your calling and destiny to mature and unfold.

Prevailing with the gifts cannot be based on presumption or the forcing of issues. The process takes time. It MUST be a faith-response to not just hearing from God, but the ongoing alignment with God in the process. When that takes place, prevailing with the gifts advances the believer to the place of God’s intervention that provides the supernatural means of opening otherwise impossible gateways.

Even then, when the supernatural is released, it is not an end to itself, but a means to set the stage for the next level of intervention, as the journey with God unfolds. My graduate school miracle, as remarkable as it was; was the passage into a dimension of my calling that would not have otherwise taken place.

God’s Authority to Bring Change
When the gifts, the anointing and one’s purposeful calling in God are aligned, they release God’s authority to bring change. The bottom line is that anointing the combined gifts will nurture and enhance the calling.
“A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.”
Proverbs 18:16

When rightly aligned within community, the administration of the diversity of gifts will actuate the change that builds community. When Joseph the Patriarch was Potiphar’s slave, Potiphar recognized the blessing of God that came from Joseph’s stewardship (Gen 39:2-5). Once he realized the authority of God operating through Joseph, Potiphar gave Joseph his authority and put Joseph over his entire household.

Yet, applying righteous power in corrupt settings can carry a cost. In Joseph’s case, this process was unrighteously circumvented through spiritual backlash, resulting in his imprisonment. Yet, due to the stewardship of his gifts, the same thing happened. When the jailer discerned God’s authority operating in Joseph, he entrusted his authority to Joseph and put him in charge of the other prisoners (Gen 39:21-23).

So it was that when Joseph was brought before Pharaoh because of his reputation to interpret dreams, Pharaoh discerned the spiritual reality of God’s authority operating through Joseph.
“So Pharaoh said to his servants: ‘Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?’  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you. See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’”
Genesis 41:39-41

Joseph’s natural gift of leadership, his spiritual gift of the prophetic and the entrepreneurial that paves new ground that had operated under the most adverse of circumstances in Potiphar’s house and then prison, had matured to the level that Joseph knew what to do when posed with the challenges facing Pharaoh.

Joseph’s destiny unfolded in the face of impossible obstacles, through his selfless, faithful sowing of righteous power through his anointed gifts. The process became the catalyst for change and the release of God’s blessings and purposes for Joseph, for Egypt and for God’s chosen people.
“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him
.” John 7:18-19

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