What is your spiritual gift? Do you like it?
I enjoy learning about spiritual gifts and how our bents influence our approach to life and each other. Understanding our differences has helped me appreciate those who approach situations differently than I would. God has wired some to be direct and others to be gentle. Understanding our differences have a purpose fosters harmony and effectiveness in a team, family, and church. But there is something more important than understanding the nuances of our individual gifts.
The focus of spiritual gifts isn’t on individuals. The focus is on Christ and His body of believers. The Apostle Paul mentions the Holy Spirit at least eleven times in one discussion on gifts (1 Corinthians 12). The Holy Spirit chooses who gets which gifts and ministries. He energizes our gifts to accomplish His purpose. When we don’t appreciate our or someone else’s abilities we insult Him.
Paul uses the analogy of a human body to describe the role of gifts. While we may exalt certain gifts, Paul makes it clear that a body made of only one or two organs would be a freak, not super special! Imagine your baby having five eyes. Or worse, it being one big ear on top of a large mouth. One body with many functioning parts is a healthy body. Listen to Paul’s words:
“4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 NASB).
There are varieties of gifts.
Spiritual gifts include, among many others, prophesy, teaching, leading, mercy, giving, serving, encouragement, and evangelism. The body needs all of these gifts just as our physical body needs kidneys, lungs, a mouth, a liver, and a nose. The whole body thrives when each one operates as it should. It suffers when members compete or don’t fulfill their roles.
There are varieties of ministries.
Let’s take the gift of teaching as an example. One person with this gift ministers to adults, another to children, and another to other teachers, perhaps by writing commentaries. The same gift is needed for different kinds of ministries.
There are varieties of effects.
Let’s say three friends with the gift of teaching join a youth ministry—same gift, same ministry. Each teacher has a special ability to glean insights from the Scriptures and pass them on to young people. But one is most energized in small group settings eliciting understanding through the use of discussion. The second captivates large audiences with compelling presentations. The third is effective patiently teaching fringe kids that intimidate and try other youth workers.
Varieties of gifts, ministries, and effects: can you see how these nuances benefit the whole body? The body would suffer if one of them were missing.
God gave each of us a special grace to minister in a way no one else can or will. Some gifts quietly hum in the background while others jolt us.
Are you a cymbal that jars us at the right moment? Are you a fiddle who plays a jig and makes us dance, or are you a violin that makes us weep? We need all of you.
The topic of spiritual gifts isn’t about whether we like our gifts. It’s about how we are best equipped to reflect our Lord and love His body. Love through your gift and the whole body will be blessed. Withhold your gift, and we suffer.
Want to learn more? Join us on Saturday evenings as we discuss spiritual gifts. Contact us for details (919 469-2477 or email: LighthouseMinistries@mac.com).
Want to grow deeper in your faith and connect with other women? Join me June 1st and 2nd when we kick off our summer studies in Wendell and Cary. Click here for details.
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Debbie W. Wilson
Linking to #w2wwordfilledwednesday