A few weeks ago, we talked about the Holy Spirit and its role in gifting believers, a topic we want to examine further this time around.
Through the Holy Spirit, believers receive a variety of spiritual gifts, which are described in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4. Some of the more familiar gifts are preaching, teaching, healing and prophecy. These are the gifts we usually associate with pastors or other church leaders, which makes sense. If a pastor is called to lead a church or congregation, he should have the gift of preaching, teaching and explaining God’s word.
Obviously, not everyone has these gifts. Others have the gifts of encouragement, giving, leadership, administration, mercy, service, evangelism, generosity or hospitality. There are plenty of pastors who can preach a wonderful sermon and inspire a congregation, but who are poor administrators. Conversely, there are great church administrators and organizers who would be terrified at the thought of preaching in front of a congregation.
That’s the whole point of 1 Corinthians 12:12, 14. “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. The body is not made up of one part but of many.” Thus, each person should use his unique spiritual gift to work together for the body of Christ and the glory of God. The person who runs the church office may not be out in front of the congregation every Sunday like the pastor, but the job is still essential.
And those in seemingly “secondary” positions should not feel embarrassed or slighted because they do not have the “primary” gifts. That’s why Paul goes on to say, “Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (1 Corinthians 12:15-21).
There are all kinds of gifts to serve God and His kingdom in different ways, and they are given through the Holy Spirit who resides in all believers. Perhaps the most important point to be made about spiritual gifts is to use them! Too many people let their spiritual gifts wither or atrophy from lack of use. It’s like buying a beautiful, expensive sports car, only to have it sit in the garage. The car was designed to be driven, not just looked at and admired. It’s the same way with our spiritual gifts. Paul wrote, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…” (Romans 12:6). Peter said much the same thing. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).
If you’re unsure about your particular gifts, read through those sections of the Bible listed above, especially 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, 1 Peter 4 and Ephesians 4. Pray that God would show you how to use your unique gifts for His service and glory.