The majority of Christians tend to value gifts in detriment to character. This distortion of values has assailed the church for centuries. Spiritual gifts are presents that God offers to each Christian without distinction. A gift may be natural or spiritual. Natural gifts are those with which we are born such as: intelligence, astuteness, memory, the capacity to inspire, to sing, to practice sports etc. The Holy Spirit grants spiritual gifts to us as instruments in His work (1 Corinthians 12:7-10). Gifts are very useful, but they are secondary. God places life and character in first place. Everybody thinks that a certain brother that possesses great intelligence and extraordinary capacity of memorization should become a great preacher. This is a great mistake and is nothing more than human reasoning. God does not edify the church upon these things. If such a brother possesses the life of God, but does not go through the process of the cross, he will be useless for God in spite of His gift.
Another person may think that a brother with the gift of healing and discernment of spirits will automatically become a pillar in the house of God. This also is a mistaken notion. The gifts are useful, but they can never be the basis for the work of building up the church.
This is why there has been so many scandals: because we prioritize gifts over character. The gifts, whether they are spiritual or natural, must pass through the cross before becoming useful. God edifies the ministry through character and not through gifts. God will not send anyone to do anything without first dealing with his character. Gifts attract men but character attracts God.
In the book of Exodus, we find a classic example of the mistake of prioritizing gifts. The Word of God says that Pharaoh was enslaving the people of Israel. Moses was the man who God had chosen to fulfill His purpose. Pharaoh raised Moses in his palace and gave him the best instruction of the times; he was an exceptionally talented man. Moses himself had some understanding of this fact and at one point took it upon himself to free His people from slavery (Exodus 2:11-15). Moses thought that he was capable and perfectly able because he possessed an Egyptian education. God however, not thinking this, put Moses on the shelf for 40 years in the desert of Midian until He could approve his character. From Moses’s natural point of view, he was ready at 40 years of age when he killed the Egyptian; but from God’s supernatural point of view, another 40 years were necessary until he reached the point of no longer trusting in his own strength and talents (Exodus 3:10).
The more that a man trusts in himself and in his natural talents, the less useful he will be to God. God’s criterion is always to choose the one who thinks himself fragile, incapable and disqualified. The glory of God manifests itself when people to whom we attribute no value rise up in power and authority. Then it becomes obvious that God is at work and not simply someone using their special talents.