O.K. So why the importance of a “spiritual gifts” discussion? Quite simply. From what I can see, there may be some confusion regarding what they all are and their importance or purpose.
If you are serious about your Christian foundation, you should want to know what your spiritual gifts are so you can develop them.
Many are listed in the Bible. What are they and where? Hold on for a second.
Let’s start by saying that all of our abilities, talents and spiritual gifts come from the giver of all gifts (see James 1:17a; Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change). We make comments to each other like, “Wow, she is a gifted pianist”, or “she is a gifted athlete”, or “she is a gifted artist”, or “he really knows cars inside and out”, or “he is a great carpenter”, or “he can sell anything”. We are certainly not talking about spiritual gifts; we are talking about a person’s ability or their natural talents.
Most of us know what our natural talents and abilities are, and as we practice them, they only get better and more fine-tuned.
Natural talents and abilities are gifts too; just not in the same sense as spiritual gifts. For example, I have a friend who has great musical rhythm. (I certainly don’t) He has been a drummer since we was a little kid. He has gotten better with age because he works at it. He certainly doesn’t know why he has rhythm, but he does. This is God given. His practicing over the years has made his drumming in the worship band even better. Ask an accomplished guitarist why they are so good. Usually, it’s “I don’t know, I just do it and practice.” Great abilities, great talents, but mind you, not spiritual gifts. Because it isn’t a spiritual gift doesn’t mean one can’t use it for God’s glory.
In fact, I believe that if Christians within the local church body would simply utilize their God-given natural talents and abilities more fully (the same abilities they utilize at their secular jobs), we would likely be more effective. Seems natural to me.
For example, think about all of the Christian, professional teachers out there in the secular world teaching grade school through college. If they taught the Bible in their local church at differing levels? Wow! Think about all of the CPAs out there who could help guide families in the local church with developing budgets.
Servanthood (Kindness) Evangelism is likely built on this principle. Showing God’s love in a practical way is the key here. For example, get all of your car mechanics together (great natural and learned skill) in the local church and have them do a free “tune up” or oil change for the public. This is a nice touch. What the church can think about doing with this principle is almost endless. See Steve Sjogren’s book in 1993, “Conspiracy of Kindness”.
To differentiate, there are the many “spiritual gifts” talked about in the Bible that we should know about also. We all have at least one, and maybe several. God has made us all unique people gifted uniquely. You should be encouraged to know our gifts.
And God wants us to use of our spiritual gifts. Makes sense. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”-1 Peter 4:10 Bill Hybels, in Honest to God?
We will get into the meat of the discussion next time.