Sleep can be a spiritual gift, right? Someone please tell me it counts. Eating chocolate?… some sort of domestic skill, falling under the realm of “hospitality,” perhaps? Okay, reaching…
One would think that, over the years, a person’s spiritual gifts would become a bit more clear, more obvious. To this day, however, I struggle with knowing what mine is (are?) when confronted with scripture or messages containing this idea, as well as wanting to live according to God’s will and using my talents wisely and to the fullest.
I asked some family members and close friends to tell me, without mucho ado and flattery, to simply shed some light on what they think my spiritual gift is. I’ve heard it said in the past that, if you’re not sure, ask those who know you. Through this search, I realize that people have different ideas of what a “spiritual gift” is, they perceive strengths where I feel weakness… and I also realizing how few people know me (but maybe that’s a good thing).
Now about the gifts of the Spirit… There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work… To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
-Excerpts from 1 Corinthians 12 (emphasis, mine)
I found this nifty little SlideShare study presentation on spiritual gifts and, despite the rather crude graphics, the information is simple and straightforward, very informative and easy to understand. Note: There are some related, recommended studies in the sidebar which may also be of interest. For instance, this study on Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts seems very thorough, in-depth.
An interesting distinction to note, one that has puzzled me but makes sense once fleshed out:
Natural Talents vs. Spiritual Gifts
- Natural talents/abilities may be developed through the years – such as playing a musical instrument.
- Natural talents may be useful or entertaining – but they deal primarily with the surfaces of life.
- A talent can be possessed by anyone – Christian or non-Christian.
- A spiritual gift is only possessed by Christians.
I used to think God gave us one or two talents and they would be glaringly obvious, second nature, almost a bullet point under one’s hobbies or interests. But in speaking with others, I think that while we may each have a strong point, we are blessed with different gifts at different times in our lives to meet a specific need. And… our gift(s) need to be improved, practiced, exercised. We need to work at them.
There are so many resources online to be had just by googling, and one I happened upon is this spiritual gifts list. It cites the three main references in the Bible speaking to spiritual gifts (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, and 1 Corinthians 12:28 – some of which I quoted above), then lists each one with a description. My mother-in-law gave me this downloadable, self-directed survey that she used in a woman’s Bible study and here’s another you can take online.
I hope this has inspired you to discover what spiritual gifts are – what your spiritual gifts are – encouraged you to use your talents and abilities in a meaningful way for God’s purposes. My brother challenged me with these words and I pass them on to you:
Each [of your talents] can be improved, invested in; they may be squandered, left to stagnate. Each can affect you, your family, and the Body in different ways.
What will you do with these gifts?