I’ve heard sermons on spiritual gifts, talents, and such all of my life, but never in my life have I ever been so keenly aware of the importance of finding and utilizing them.
Paul starts out in 1 Corinthians 12 saying that this subject of gifts is important. Peterson’s The Message says it this way,
“What I want to talk to you about is the various ways God’s Spirit gets worked into our lives. This is complex and often misunderstood, but I want you to be informed and knowledgeable.”
Paul goes on to say:
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12: 4-7, NIV)
It doesn’t really matter what your gift is. There’s not one more important than another, except for when it comes to love, which Paul discusses in 1 Corinthians 13. What is important is that we search our gift(s) out, and learn how to use them to the glory of God. That is the sole purpose for our gifts (verse 7).
Find Your Gift
Paul continues on in the text discussing the different gifts of the Spirit: words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophesy, discernment, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. Lots can be written in discussion of these gifts, but that isn’t the point I’m trying to make here. Verse 11 says,
“All these are the work of the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.”
Peterson says it this way,
“All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. he decides who gets what, and when.”
That’s a beautiful interpretation! I remember growing up praying and begging God to let me speak in tongues. This was the gift that the super spiritual in my church possessed, so I assumed that in order to be close to God, this is what I needed to do. I prayed for several years for this gift, probably getting on the Father’s nerves a bit. What I learned during that time (and what I’m still learning to this day) is that praying for a specific gift may not be the key. But humbly praying for any gift may be a better way. Praying for God to give me a gift to bring Him ultimate fame and glory and not to promote myself as super spiritual completely changed my life. Praying for God to fill me with love and compassion for the lost and for my brothers and sisters in Christ changed my outlook on life. Maybe if discovering your spiritual gift is a struggle for you, you should change how you pray. Begin to ask God, through His Word and through prayer, what it is that He would have you to do. He has a job for you!
Talent vs. Gift
We have lots of talented people in our church. It’s an incredible blessing. I believe, however, that there is a big difference between talent and gifting. A talent is an ability you have whether it be artistic in nature, mechanical, neurological, etc. I believe it is given to you by God. The gift is when you return that ability to God in surrender and allow Him to use you and it for His purposes.
All of the guys and gals in Hope Worship Band are talented individuals. There is no denying that fact, but the gift that they possess is giving their talent back to God. In return, God places His anointing on them and uses them in amazing ways to further His kingdom.
We all connect with God in various ways. Moses found God on the mountain tops. (Exodus 19 and 34). David sang hymns and songs to the Lord (check out the Psalms). Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive oil and cleansed them with her hair. Martha worked in service to Jesus (John 12:1-8). We all have our thing that makes us feel close to the Father. For me personally, I can spend hours in prayer, and I feel like I’m just droning on and on. (This isn’t to diminish the importance of prayer). I can spend time in the Word and ask God to speak to my heart through it, and at times, I hear nothing. But when I sing, I instantly find this connection to Jesus that is all mine. My most intimate times with Jesus take place in my car on my 30 minute commute to wherever I’m going. I turn on my worship music, open my mouth, start to sing, and I’m immediately with Jesus. (Some people surely wonder what in the world is going on in my car at times…ha!) This is how God uses our gifts to connect with us and us with Him. Do you see why then it is so important to find your gifts?
It’s important to remember that your gift may not be one that requires you to be on a stage or preach the sermon. Your gift may be serving your neighbor who is struggling. Your gift may the your ability to hang dry-wall and work with your hands. It isn’t so important what the gift is, but only that you find it! And there is no gift more or less important than another.
I’d love to hear what your gifts are. Feel free to comment or email me and let me know!