Back in my first weeks here, we focused on 1 Corinthians 12 and the Body of Christ and spiritual gifts. And according to the Bible, every Christian has been given at least one spiritual gift to use in service to the body of Christ. The spiritual gifts are given by grace and are not based on our worthiness or personal abilities
1 Peter 4:10-11 tells us “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” We also talked about spiritual gifts recently in Ephesians 4:11-16.
So, an important step in determining how to best serve in the church is for us to discover what our spiritual gifts are. Of course, we do not have to know what our gift is before we start getting involved in the church. In fact, we often discover our gifts in the process of serving. But there are some lists of spiritual gifts in Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, as well as 1 Peter 4:10-11.
One of the first things that becomes clear in these passages is the diversity of the gifts. Paul’s survey of spiritual gifts in Romans 12 includes different gifts than are found in 1 Corinthians 12 for instance. And when Peter spoke of the spiritual gifts, he did not specify them but rather listed broad categories of the types of gifts God gives. Whatever the specific use, each gift fits together with the other gifts, and they all work together as the parts of the body.
Here is a brief spiritual gifts survey compiled by Dr. Larry Gilbert from “How Many Spiritual Gifts Are There?” He puts them into 3 categories:
1. Miraculous Gifts
- Apostleship (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11)
- Tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, 30)
- Interpretation (1 Corinthians 12:10, 30)
- Miracles (1 Corinthians 12:10, 28)
- Healing (1 Corinthians 12:9, 28)
2. Enabling Gifts
- Faith (1 Corinthians 12:9)
- Discernment (1 Corinthians 12:10)
- Wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8)
- Knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8)
3. Team Gifts
- Evangelism: passionately leading others to the saving knowledge of Christ (Ephesians 4:11)
- Prophecy: boldly and fearlessly proclaiming God’s truth (Romans 12:6; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28)
- Teaching: making clear the truth of God’s Word with simplicity and accuracy (Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28)
- Exhortation: motivating others to action, application, and purpose (Romans 12:8)
- Shepherding: overseeing, training, feeding, coaching/leading (Ephesians 4:11)
- Serving: providing practical help both physically and spiritually (Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28)
- Mercy-showing: identifying with and comforting those in need (Romans 12:8)
- Giving: releasing material resources to further the work of the Church (Romans 12:8)
- Administration: organizing, administering, promoting, leading (Romans 12:8; 1 Corinthians 12:28)
How do you find your spiritual gifts? Sometimes we rely on just taking a test, but speaker and author Tony Morgan says there is a better way to start. Rather than taking a spiritual gifts test, we need to be more cognizant of the people around us. Where do others need help? How am I compelled to respond?
In other words, we should just encourage people to be sensitive to the needs of others. When God prompts us to help someone in need, we will naturally respond to that need based on the gifts God has given us. The Holy Spirit will prompt a response. We just need to act. We do not have to wait for the church to create a program or ministry to respond. We can respond immediately, because we are the church wherever we are.
The Bible says we are given spiritual gifts for a purpose. All Christians everywhere should be serving God in their church community and looking for opportunities to serve both inside and outside the walls of our church building. Soon our Serve Opportunities (Time & Talent) will be coming out to give you an opportunity to live into your calling and giftedness at Nolensville First.
It may be difficult to discover which spiritual gift(s) God has bestowed, but it is better to serve somewhere than nowhere! Often, the discovery of our gifts becomes clearer in the doing — as we serve in various jobs, we learn what we are good at and what we have a heart for doing. The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said; “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” He was not wrong, because you will not get anywhere unless you start the journey. Let’s start using our spiritual gifts together.
Blessings in Christ,