There are different kinds of gifts, but they are all from the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve but the same Lord to serve. And there are different ways that God works through people but the same God. God works in all of us in everything we do. Something from the Spirit can be seen in each person, for the common good. … One Spirit, the same Spirit, does all these things, and the Spirit decides what to give each person. [1 Corinthians 4:4-7,11 (NCV)]
Like any good guest, when the Holy Spirit comes to us, He doesn’t come empty-handed—He brings a gift. It’s neither generic nor a “one-size fits all” sort of thing. He brings each of us our very own spiritual gift specifically designed just for us. Like any appreciative recipient of such a precious gift, however, it is our job to unwrap and use it.
Although they’re easily confused, spiritual gifts aren’t talents. Granted, they both come from God, can be developed with practice, and are intended to be shared with others. God is not wasteful, so our talents often complement our spiritual gifts but they’re not the same things. While we may be born with an innate talent or into a home where a talent is developed, our spiritual gifts don’t arrive until we accept Christ. Instead of a hostess gift, maybe a better analogy would be a welcoming gift. Our spiritual gifts are God’s way of welcoming us into the body of Christ. Paul listed various kinds of spiritual gifts in Ephesians, Romans and 1 Corinthians and no two lists are exactly the same. Although the Apostle listed some spiritual gifts, I seriously doubt that he listed them all. We have an unlimited God and I’m sure the Holy Spirit is not limited by Paul’s list when it comes to giving us gifts.
If you’re wondering about your special gift, look around your church family and notice the spiritual gifts that are being used. The people who are gifted in serving keep our churches running—they do the mailings, fold the programs, run the sound systems, and mow the lawns. Those gifted with hospitality serve the coffee, welcome people to the services, and offer their homes for small groups. We don’t just find those gifted with teaching in the classrooms, they’re the ones who show us how to apply the Bible’s teachings to everyday situations. Those gifted with faith are the prayer warriors and God-confident ones. Willing to take a risk and step out in faith, their faith spurs us all into action. Those faith dreams, however, can’t turn into reality without the people gifted with administration and organization. Nor are they possible without the people who quietly support and fund God’s work—the ones gifted with generosity. Without them, even the best laid plans would never materialize. Those gifted with leadership know how to get workers, motivate them, and delegate responsibility. We need the good decision making-skills and sound advice of those gifted with wisdom and profit from the scriptural insight of those gifted with knowledge. Without the words of those gifted with exhortation, the church won’t reach its full potential. Their encouraging voices strengthen and inspire their brothers and sisters in Christ. Those gifted with discernment can recognize truth from error, spot hidden agendas, and distinguish the phony from the sincere. Filled with compassion, those gifted with mercy minister to people in need; they mourn with those who mourn and minister to those in pain. Those gifted in prophecy can offer messages from God that reveal His purpose or guide actions. Those gifted with healing may have a healing touch or simply take people’s blood pressure, impart good medical information, or help heal emotional wounds. Those gifted with evangelism are the ones who can so openly and easily share their faith, something not all of us are comfortable doing, and those gifted in pastoring are the ones who so beautifully shepherd their flocks. Most of us are pretty limited in the talent department, but God has gifted us all with spiritual gifts and a special way to use that gift in the body of Christ.
We all have different gifts, each of which came because of the grace God gave us. [Romans 12:6a (NCV)]
Together you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of that body. [1 Corinthians 12:27 (NCV)]
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