I know I probably shouldn’t, but I tend to get uncomfortable whenever someone talks about how they are gifted in this or that way, particularly when Christians do it. Of course, it’s usually only Christians who do it, so… Anyway, this is usually done in the “I have a gift[ing] of” sense, often about leadership, teaching, or leadership. (Although I’ve noticed people tend to not make a point of saying, “I have a gift[ing] of service or hospitality.” Strange, that…)
I’m obviously not against people talking about what they’re good at. Doing so isn’t necessarily prideful—it might just be being honest. But sometimes when I hear people talking about what great teachers or leaders or whatevers they are, that cynical side of me thinks, “Who are you trying to convince: me or yourself?”
Our witness in the world around us is kind of like that, too. Though we ought to always use our words to clearly present the gospel to those who need to hear it, we are wise to remember that some things just have to be seen. Talking about them isn’t good enough. Charles Spurgeon described it this way in Morning and Evening,
Be you as the brook wherein you may see every stone at the bottom—not as the muddy creek, of which you only see the surface—but clear and transparent, so that your heart’s love to God and man may be visible to all. You need not say, “I am true:” be true. Boast not of integrity, but be upright. So shall your testimony be such that men cannot help seeing it.
In other words, be what you are, Spurgeon says. Don’t merely say you’re a person of integrity—actually be upright. Don’t say you’re truthful—just be that way. Don’t say you’ve got people skills—be personable. Don’t just say you’ve got this or that gift—use whatever gift you’ve been given so that God may be glorified. Just as we are to never let fear squelch the power of our words in our witness, we should never let a preference for speaking about what we are like squelch the rest of our witness. Be what you are, so that your love of Christ—and his love in you—might be known to all.