Get out your crayons and scissors and put together a list of all the things you want for Christmas. Cut up the Sears catalog and the sales flyers and paste the pictures of all the things you want onto your list.
What would you like for your birthday? Father’s day? Mother’s day? Your anniversary? We all love getting gifts even though we are sometimes unhappy with the gifts we get.
But what about the spiritual gifts that Scripture talks about?
I believe the first challenge we face when considering spiritual gifts is that we have an entirely different paradigm to consider. These gifts are given to us, not for us, but for the benefit of others and the pleasure of God.
Stop and think about that for a minute. In our selfish culture we would be shocked if, after unwrapping our gift, our dad said, “I gave you that gift so that you can share it with your brother and sister, for their benefit.” Perhaps that’s why so many squabbles erupt in the church whenever the topic of spiritual gifts and their right usage comes to the forefront. We tend to look at spiritual gifts as we do earthly gifts, do we not?
When we look at 1 Timothy 4:12-15 we see that Timothy is told not to neglect his spiritual gift but to use it, develop it and strengthen it. The “Timothy Factor,” as Dr. Elmer Towns calls it, is clear. The Lord has given spiritual gifts to His children and has decided who gets what.
We get tripped up when we get wrapped up in gifts and fail to understand the best intent.
I Corinthians 14:12 “So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.” (NIV)
How do you discover what your spritual gift is? There are tests and inventories out there to help but I’ve always found that the best way to discover them is to ask someone else what your spiritual gifts might be. I’ve found that most people don’t really think they are gifted in the areas they are gifted in. The person who has the gift of hospitality usually doesn’t see it as a big deal, they operate in it naturally and often think that everyone else should too. The person with the gift of administration often doesn’t regognize it as a gift but sees it as a discipline and gets frustrated by others who do not show the same abilities.
It is important to identify your gifts so you can fan the flame, develop them and put them into practice building up the followers of Christ, which the Bible calls “the church.”