Retired Pastor Pat Duffin
Every believer is gifted with spiritual gifts from God. They are intended by God to bless and edify the church globally and locally, including the congregation in which the individual participates.
They are also intended for the benefit of individuals in the congregation, including the spiritual edification of the believer who is exercising their gifts.
Many of the gifts are also purposed to bless the unbeliever and to ultimately help them come to faith in God. So integral are these many and varied gifts to the life of the church that it is impossible to discuss the church without being mindful of this incredible reservoir of talent, motivation, and intentional service to the benefit of all through the exercise of love.
Writing to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote, “For brethren, you have been called unto liberty. Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’” [Galatians 5:13-14]
Many Christians struggle with the notion that they have personal, unique, and divinely bestowed abilities, talents, and motivational desires that equip them for spiritual service. Many are confused or intimidated by the reality that God wants to use ‘little ol’ me’ for some higher purpose than serving self.
Yet, that is what the Bible clearly teaches. Spiritual gifts are specific abilities, skills and motivations accompanied with certain traits that are given to believers by God to equip them to serve God by serving others. The main goal is to edify the church, not self, and to minister to those outside the church for the purpose of bringing them into fellowship with God and with other believers inside the church.
One does not earn or deserve them. They are not badges of spiritual accomplishment or authority. One gift is not to be esteemed above another.
The “best gift” is the one by which you are best able to serve God in the situation you are in. The service is to be rendered with love [1 Corinthians 12:31; Chapter 13 in total].
God has given everyone at least one gift which He expects us to use in a uniquely personal way according to our abilities, personality, and temperament, within the body of Christ.
A great place to start learning about spiritual gifts is to go to the Bible where three kinds of gifts are discussed in Scripture. These are: The Ministry Gifts [Ephesians 4:11-16], the Manifestation Gifts [1 Corinthians 12:7-11,28], and the Motivational Gifts [Romans 12:6-8].
There is too much information to cover this topic in one short column, so we will have to look at this teaching in at least three columns because we are instructed not to be ignorant of spiritual gifts. They are God’s design for operating the church and for strengthening the followers of Christ.
Let us read from 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12: 4-18:
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. . .Forthe body is not one part, but many. If the foot says, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has arranged the parts, each one of them in the body just as He desired.”
We all have a place to belong in the church, and we need to occupy that space with our personal gift to serve. No one can say, “I have no need for the church.”
Nor can we say, “I have no need for a spiritual gift.”
Nor can we say, “I have no need of that gift.”
Nor can we say, “I have no need of you. You do not belong here.”
Similarly, we cannot say of ourselves, “I have no gift. I am not needed. I have no place to belong here.”
We are all called to be, to belong, and to serve. Therefore, it behooves us to learn about spiritual gifts, to discover what our personal gift[s] might be, and then find a place to use those gifts in serving God and our “neighbours.” In so doing we discover and fulfil our purpose for existing in this world and in God’s Kingdom.
May I encourage you to go back and read the Scriptures referenced in this article? Begin your journey of discovery and next time we shall discover more about these mysterious gifts, what they are, why they are needed, and how they are employed.
Most importantly, that you might discover with what spiritual gift you were blessed and what God is calling you to do.