The Word for today:
1 Corinthians 15:35-58
I believed in Jesus for a long while before I made it through the doors of a church.
Then, having made it through the doors, I…umhh…sat down. For a couple years, maybe three, I was an onlooker. I'm not really good at being an onlooker, but I didn't think I was good at anything else either. So I looked on.
Then it was announced that a "spiritual gifts assessment" was being made available. All we had to do was make an appointment and we could find out what a spiritual gift is--and which spiritual gift is ours!
So I made an appointment, filled out a questionnaire, and then waited for yet another appointment to go over the results with an elder.
I met with elders Jim and Dave. Dave told me, "Franklyn, there's good news and bad news."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, the good news is that, according to our questionnaire and the answers you gave, you have the gift of teaching--explaining the Word of God so people can understand."
"So, what's the bad news?"
"Well, according to our questionnaire and the answers you gave, you're sort of like John the Baptist."
"What could be bad about that?"
"You know how John the Baptist says that he can't even tie Jesus' shoes?"
"Yes. I know the passage."
"Well, Franklyn, our assessment says that, except for teaching scripture, you can't even tie your own shoes!"
You must understand that Dave was just kidding. I mean, I think he was. I hope he was!
Anyway, I was an onlooker no more. I had a shiny new gift and I was determined to open it!
The major teaching in scripture concerning spiritual gifts is right here in 1 Corinthians 12-14, where you can read all about the spiritual gifts in general. (Other key passages can be found in Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4.)
Descriptions of specific gifts are listed in an addendum ("Discover Your Spiritual Gifts") at the end of this article.
To find out which of those gifts is yours, I encourage you to take a spiritual gifts assessment, like I did. (I found a good one that will take 10-15 minutes and is automatically tabulated. Just click here and follow the directions...)
Once you find your gift, by all means open it. Having opened it, if you don't know what to do with it (I didn't) then just talk it over with any experienced believer who has opened his or her own gift. They can show you how to turn it on and make it run!
Discover Your Spiritual Gifts!
A spiritual gift is an expression of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer, empowering him/her to serve the body of Christ, the church.
Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28-30; Ephesians 4:11; and 1 Peter 4:9-11 contain representative lists of gifts and roles God has given to the church. A definition of these gifts follows.
Administration—Persons with the gift of administration lead the body by steering others to remain on task. Administration enables the body to organize according to God-given purposes and long-term goals and to execute effective plans for the accomplishment of those goals.
Opportunities: group leader, office, personnel
Scripture: Luke 14:28-30; Acts 6:1-7; Acts 27:11; 1 Cor. 12:28; Titus 1:5
Apostleship—The church sends apostles from the body to plant churches or to be missionaries. Apostles motivate the body to look beyond its walls in order to carry out the Great Commission.
Opportunities: missions, evangelism, discipleship
Scripture: Luke 6:12-13; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 2:20; Eph. 4:11-13
Celibacy—This gift is the special ability that God gives certain members of the Body of Christ to remain single and enjoy it in order to dedicate oneself to the expansion of God’s kingdom; to be unmarried and not suffer undue sexual temptations.
Opportunities: "undivided interests for the sake of the kingdom of heaven"--more time to devote to ministry; more focus on ministry concerns.
Scripture: Matt. 19:10-12; 1 Cor. 7:7-8, 32-33
Counseling—The special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement and counsel to other members of the Body in such a way that they feel helped and healed.
Opportunities: counseling, crisis center, evangelism, visitation ministries
Scripture: Acts 14:22; Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:13; Hebrews 10:25
Creativity—Expressing God’s kingdom, His love and His truth, through alternative means of expression -- such as drama, multi-media, dance, song, poetry, etc.
Opportunities: drama, choir, evangelism, media, missions, construction
Scripture: Psa. 150:3-5; 2 Sam. 6:14-15; 2 Sam. 23:1; Mark 4:2, 33
Discernment—Discernment aids the body by recognizing the true intentions of those within or related to the body. Discernment tests the message and actions of others for the protection and well-being of the body.
Opportunities: counseling, prayer, personnel
Scripture: Matt. 16:21-23; Acts 5:1-11; Acts 16:16-18; 1 Cor. 12:10; 1 John 4:1-6
Encouragement/Exhortation—Possessors of this gift encourage members to be involved in and enthusiastic about the work of the Lord. Members with this gift are good counselors and motivate others to service. Encouragement/exhortation exhibits itself in preaching, teaching, and ministry.
Opportunities: counseling, teaching, preaching
Scripture: Rom. 12:6-8; Acts 11:23-24; Heb. 10:24-25
Evangelism—God gifts his church with evangelists to lead others to Christ effectively and enthusiastically. This gift builds up the body by adding new members to its fellowship.
Opportunities: visitation, outreach, missions
Scripture: Acts 8:5-6; Acts 8:26-40; Acts 14:21; Acts 21:8; Eph. 4:11-13; 2 Tim. 4:5
Faith—Faith trusts God to work beyond the human capabilities of the people. Believers with this gift encourage others to trust in God in the face of apparently insurmountable odds. They are able to discern with extraordinary confidence the will and purposes of God for His work.
Opportunities: prayer, counseling, finances
Scripture: Acts 11:22-24; Acts 27:21-25; Romans 4:18-21; 1 Cor. 12:9; Hebrews 11
Giving—Members with the gift of giving give freely and joyfully to the work and mission of the body. Cheerfulness and liberality are characteristics of individuals with this gift.
Opportunities: finance or planning committee, office
Scripture: Mark 12:41-44; Rom. 12:8; 2 Cor. 8:1-7; 2 Cor. 9:2-8
Helps—Those with the gift of helps recognize practical needs in the body and joyfully give assistance to meeting those needs. Christians with this gift do not mind working behind the scenes. They invest the talents they have in the life and ministry of other members of the Body, thus enabling those others to increase the effectiveness of their own spiritual gifts. (Note: This gift may be confused with the gift of serving. Someone with the gift of helps usually aids one individual [e.g., an administrative assistant], while a person with the gift of serving is willing to do whatever is necessary for a cause or project.)
Opportunities: organizing volunteers, working in the kitchen, fundraising
Scripture: Mark 15:40-41; Luke 8:2-3; Acts 9:36; Romans 16:1-2; 1 Cor. 12:28
Hospitality—Those with this gift have the ability to make visitors, guests, and strangers feel at ease. They often use their home to entertain guests or to provide for those in need of food and/or lodging. Persons with this gift integrate new members into the body.
Opportunities: homeless, encouragement, housing
Scripture: Acts 16:14-15; Romans 12:9-13; Romans 16:23; Hebrews 13:1-2; 1 Pet. 4:9
Intercession—The special ability to pray for extended periods of time on a regular basis and see frequent and specific answers to their prayers, to a degree much greater than that which is expected of the average Christian.
Opportunities: prayer, encouragement, hospital, hospice, shut-ins
Scripture: Luke 22:41-44; Acts 12:12; Col. 1:9-12 & 4:12-13; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; James 5:14-16
Knowledge—The gift of knowledge manifests itself in teaching and training in discipleship. It is the God-given ability to learn, know, and explain the precious truths of God’s Word. A word of knowledge is a Spirit-revealed truth.
Opportunities: counseling, book store, library, teaching
Scripture: Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor. 2:14; 1 Cor. 12:8; 2 Cor. 11:6; Col. 2:2-3
Leadership—Leadership aids the body by leading and directing members to set goals in accordance with God’s purpose for the future and to communicate these goals to others in such a way that they voluntarily and harmoniously work together to accomplish those goals for the glory of God. Leadership motivates people to work together in unity toward common goals.
Opportunities: men’s or women’s ministries, discipleship, support groups
Scripture: Luke 9:51; Acts 7:10; Acts 15:7-11; Rom. 12:8; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:17
Mercy—Cheerful acts of compassion characterize those with the gift of mercy. They feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals (both Christian and non-Christian) who suffer distressing physical, mental or emotional problems, and translate that compassion into cheerfully done deeds which reflect Christ’s love and alleviate the suffering.
Opportunities: hospital, benevolence, counseling
Scripture: Matt. 20:29-34; Matt. 25:34-40; Mark 9:41; Luke 10:33-35; Acts 11:28-30; Acts 16:33-34; Romans 12:8
Pastoring—The ability to assume a long-term personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers. Those with this gift are compelled to encourage others to work together for the body’s sake. (Note: this gift is also referred to as shepherding and is not given to only those in church leadership roles.)
Opportunities: committee chairperson, visitation, small group leader
Scripture: John 10:1-18; Eph. 4:11-13; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; 1 Peter 5:1-4
Prophecy—The gift of prophecy is proclaiming the Word of God boldly. This builds up the body and leads to conviction of sin. Prophecy manifests itself in preaching and teaching.
Opportunities: community/national concern, finances, steering committee, teaching
Scripture: Luke 7:26; Acts 15:32 & 21:9-11; Romans 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:10,28; Eph. 4:11-13
Serving—To identify the unmet needs involved in a task related to God’s work, and to make use of available resources to meet those needs and help accomplish the desired results. (Note: the gift of serving may be confused with the gift of helps. See note on "helps" for clarification).
Opportunities: nursery, Sunday school, ushering, trustee
Scripture: Acts 6:1-7; Romans 12:7; Galatians 6:2,10; 2 Tim. 1:16-18; Titus 3:14
Teaching—Teaching is instructing members in the truths and doctrines of God’s Word for the purposes of building up, unifying, and maturing the body.
Opportunities: teaching, training, library
Scripture: Acts 18:24-28; Acts 20:20-21; Romans 12:7; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11-13
Wisdom—Wisdom is the gift that discerns the work of the Holy Spirit in the body and applies His teachings and actions to the needs of the body.
Opportunities: prayer, counseling, finances
Scripture: Acts 6:3,10; 1 Cor. 2:1-13; 1 Cor. 12:28; James 1:5-6; 2 Peter 3:15-16
Worship—The gift to accurately discern the heart of God for a particular public worship service, to draw others into an intimate experience with God during the worship time and to allow the Holy Spirit to change directions and emphasis as the service progresses.
Opportunities: worship team, special music
Scripture: 1 Sam. 16:23; 1 Chronicles 9:33; 2 Chronicles 5:12-14
God has gifted you with an expression of His Holy Spirit to support His vision and mission of the church. It is a worldwide vision to reach all people with the gospel of Christ. God desires that you know how He has gifted you. This will lead you to where He would have you serve as part of His vision and mission for the church.