Gifts Of Grace Pt 1 (ATP)
How do I know what my spiritual gifts are?
Romans 12:6-8 (NKJV)
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
This is a good question and one that more Christians need to understand the answer to. What is my gifting? Before I answer this, however, we need to ask and answer a different question. For lengths sake, I’m actually going answer this question in three parts. The first question one should ask is, why do I want to know my gifting?
When you tell someone in this world they are gifted, it’s usually a compliment to them. People by nature always desire to be gifted because being gifted seems to give one bragging rights. Hollywood is an industry built on natural gifts and talents and they are exploited for many reasons. If you will pay attention to the gifted in the world, it will be easy to see self-inflation and pride at work. Everyone desires gifts, but often for the wrong reasons. You will hear people say things like, “This is my opportunity.” It is for self they seek to excel or be seen. Sadly, in Christianity, it isn’t much different.
We once knew a young man who felt a strong call to the ministry. He started pursuing this diligently in his teens, studying and reading up on it as much as he could. Later, he would enter ministry training that our churches offered. By the time he left the churches (and under wrong circumstances), he was saying things like, “I’m not given enough opportunity to practice my ministry.” Some may snicker at this but the truth is, most people who believe they are called to something and “gifted” think that gives them the right to use it. This however, misses the entire purpose to the gifts and callings of God. Before I go further, I want to make sure that the one who asked this question knows that I am not accusing them of this attitude. A good question will give a good opportunity to teach, which is why I love this format of Faith Fix.
Now back to our young minister friend. 1 Timothy 3:6 warns us on the installation of ministers that they are “not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.” Before one is fit for ministry of any kind, or to exercise giftings to others, it is imperative to understand the purpose for them in the first place. The Bible refers to us as stewards. A steward is one who is given something to care for, but it belongs to another. Any true godly calling is a gift that is to be stewarded, carried out as the Giver has desired.
The world looks at gifts as opportunity for personal gain and enrichment. The Bible teaches us that God gives them for others. The world thinks it a shame that a gift goes unused. The Christian should know the only shame is not using it when it’s needed. When God doesn’t have need of the gift, we shouldn’t be looking to use it because though it may be on us, it isn’t for us.
Let’s see two examples of this in scripture. Romans 14:19 says, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” 1 Corinthians 10:24 says, “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.” I have found through experience, that God will at times give us abilities to allow opportunities to teach us. Some of these God given abilities we can possess yet never use. Stewardship of what is given is not using it at will but rather when it’s willed. If it’s not, then it’s stored away. Time and again God has shown us gifted people only to use the ungifted so that we understand the ability is not of us. He does not need nor desire our ability, He desires our faithfulness. That is not to say God will never use abilities, it is to say He doesn’t rely on them and we shouldn’t either.
There are some who would have a problem with this, especially those who think worldly. “So and so is very talented, they should be used!” Let me ask you this though, why should they? They didn’t make themselves talented nor create their ability. The only thing that makes them special is that the Gift Giver gifted. The gift is nothing. Without being given, you don’t have. If God gives a gift, it is up to Him to decide if it should be used. I have seen and heard too many times of examples of God enabling a person to do things they weren’t ever able to do before. This my friends is exactly what Grace is.
Christians need to understand that our part in being gifted is faithfulness. It is faithfulness which we are rewarded for in this life and the next. God wants us good at following directions. What pleases Him is obedience not talent. God used mostly ungifted people in scripture to accomplish impossible tasks. This way the world understands, it’s not about them, it’s about Him. Human talents bring glory to man, albeit false glory. Godly gifts bring glory to Him, always pointing upward.