Discovering the Spiritual Gifts Part 3

One night a group of friends went out for a dinner party at a restaurant. Good-natured banter was thrown around as they seated themselves and gave opinions on the menu selection. Orders were placed, glasses were raised, toasts were being made, and then it happened. An elbow collided with a passing platter of dainty dishes and the whole lot fell all over the guest's heads, laps and drinks. Disaster! The trainee waitress that was unfortunate enough to be carrying the tray to another table was mortified. She burst into tears and rushed into the toilets where she locked herself away.

How would you respond to this scenario?

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;

if it is serving, then serve;

if it is teaching, then teach;

if it is to encourage, then give encouragement;

if it is giving, then give generously;

if it is to lead, do it diligently;

if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

(Romans 12:6-10)

This list of 'gifts' listed in Romans 12:6-10, are sometimes referred to as motivational gifts. They are different from acquired skill or talent because they are embedded in who we naturally are. These gifts can influence our perspective and passions in life and motivate us to minister to others in a particular way.

i.e. when a situation or need arises, we automatically respond in a particular way and do it well with little effort.

For example, consider the earlier scenario.

  • John's gift is serving: He jumped up and offered to help clean up the mess, whipping out a bottle of hand sanitizer he had ready for emergencies just like this one

  • Donna's gift is teaching: She explained to everyone how they could get the red wine stains out of their clothing and made sure they knew how to correctly dry out their phones overnight in a bowl of rice.

  • Campbell's gift is encouragement: He cracked a joke about John's elbow being responsible for this hilarious blunder and now he was using elbow grease to fix it.

  • David's gift is giving: He quietly made his way to the counter and paid for everyone's meal, and left a generous tip for the waitress.

  • Sarah's gift is leadership: She immediately assessed the situation and directed the guests to assist John as best they could. She also went to update Hannah who was standing outside the toilet doors talking to the waitress.

  • Hannah's gift is mercy: Her immediate response was to ensure the young woman was ok and to let her know it was no big deal. She had already won the confidence of the waitress and heard her life story by the time Sarah arrived.

  • Jenny's gift is prophecy: She wasn't surprised at all and said 'I told you so!'

What are my primary giftings?

Don’t all of these gifts sound like something we should all do? Absolutely! However, some people are graced with a natural ability to do these things in an exceptional way. The list is also not limited to these seven 'gifts', they are simply examples Paul is using to make his point, that whatever we have, use it, and use it humbly (and with a sense of humour).

There are plenty of gifting tests available on the internet. These are helpful as a starting point for discovering your gifts, but should not be used to definitely decide your calling.

There are also several personality tests that give insight into how you are wired and what strengths you have to appreciate. Myers-Briggs and Strengths Finder are two popular ones you can start with.

Here are some clues to identifying what your primary gifts might be:

  • you are naturally good at something

  • you feel alive and satisfied when you get to do something, even if you found it challenging

  • you find yourself drawn to themes or topics that are related to a particular gift

  • you are self-motivated and don't need an excuse to do something

  • you are effective and fruitful when you use this gift

  • you are affirmed by others who recognise and value your gift

This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t serve in other ways, but you will be most effective and fruitful when you develop the gifts God has chosen to grace you with. As demonstrated in this scenario, because of the unique response by people who acted according to their gifting, everything got taken care of. Not everyone can hold the same broom and not everyone wants to pay the bill. Let each other shine with the gift God had given you and high-five the others on the way out.

How to develop these gifts

Ask God to bring out the best in you:

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13-14

Be a mature student:

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness."

2 Peter 1:4-6

Kill the curse of comparison:

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you."

Romans 12:3

Own your zone:

"God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be."

1 Corinthians 12:8

Best foot forward:

"Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness."

Romans 6:13

Let love motivate you more than your motivational gift:

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."

Romans 12:9-11

Refer to this article GIFT WRAPPED GOODNESS for more



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* All scripture is quoted from NIV translation unless noted