These days I interact with a lot of different people, some in deep and continuing relationships, others only one time for a few minutes. But God trained me in children’s Sunday school rooms to interact with everyone in such a way that it feels completely personal. And it is personal and heartfelt. I care for each individual I minister to now the same way I learned to care for each child in my class back then. I have noticed how some people with prophetic gifts go down the line impersonally. Because of the foundation God built in me during those years teaching Sunday school, I see prophetic ministry as a caring, relational experience.
If you think about it, God is relating to someone through you and giving him or her supernatural information to make the person feel loved, valued, and encouraged. If that isn’t personal and loving, I don’t know what is. For that reason people often tell me that the “words” I give them sound conversational, not didactic. What I enjoy most is sitting around the kitchen table having a good conversation with someone, and I feel the same way when I minister to people – it’s just as at the kitchen table, talking about what the Lord has given us to know. That’s also why I always ask people after I minister to them, “Do you have questions? Do you understand?”
Part of that is my supernatural temperament. I always figured I was good with kids because I had taken care of my own siblings. As I was teaching kids the Bible, I slowly realized that God has given me a natural ability to relate to people, to be approachable, to be a friend. [My wife] Vicki had seen this from the start. When we were dating, she was often frustrated because friends would call and talk for hours, pouring out their problems to me. She called me Mr. Psychologist and was annoyed that my line was always busy (in the days before call waiting and cell phones). Of course, my relatability also attracted her because I enjoyed having conversations and was a good listener.
I didn’t know if it was a strength until I saw how my relationships with kids blossomed so easily. Some told me, “The best time of my week is coming to talk to you because you don’t talk down to us. You care about how we feel.” In Scripture I admired how Jesus ministered to the Samaritan woman at the well, who is culturally different from Him. His genuine concern drew her into a discussion about the good news. In the same way, Sunday after Sunday I was in a position where I had to relate to people of all kinds; all ages; all personalities, temperaments, and backgrounds. It honed my skill of finding a way to connect with people or figure them out with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Learning to minister to people one-on-one, as Jesus did, was one of the most important principles for using my spiritual gift and living the Christian life. Over time I saw it produce fruit in the lives of these kids, many of whom were from single-parent homes. They grow up and talked to me at church even when I was no longer teaching their class. One father even asked me to call his daughter to give her direction later in life. “She listens to you and doesn’t listen to anybody else,” he said, which was a sad thing to admit. But it showed me how powerful these principles are at building relationships between people and God.
Today when people express a desire to move ahead in their spiritual gifting, I urge them to allow the Lord to lay a foundation of humility, availability, and servanthood in their hearts. It may look like nursery work. It may look like something else. But unless we fall in love with unlovable tasks and hard-to-love people, He will never graduate us to higher things. I could easily have wallowed in bitterness about my nursery and Sunday school assignments, but God in His grace helped me to learn from them and eventually to treasure them. This is how God develops His heart in us, and the Bible says God notices:
For the eyes of the Lord move about on all the earth to strengthen the heart that is completely toward Him. –2 Chronicles 16:9
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we should walk in them. –Ephesians 2:10
When people ask me how to get started in their spiritual gift, I say, “Find the lowest place and the lowest task the Lord will allow you to do, and do it with all your heart.” That’s how God began to transform my life and launch me into my spiritual gifts.
Hear more about Hubie Synn’s amazing ministry this Thursday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from The Tales of a Wandering Prophet by Hubie Synn. Copyright ©2015 by Hubie Synn. Published by Charisma House. Used by permission.