Typically, a gift is something we use for ourselves. When it comes to spiritual gifts handed to us by God, they are to be used for the benefit if others. Gifts are given to be given. Would you expect it any other way coming from God? He is the ultimate others-centered Individual.
When someone puts their trust in Jesus Christ to provide eternal life, they are turning their rights over to Him. This initiates a relationship with God, and the first benefit is that He places His Holy Spirit within us to sustain the relationship. The Spirit provides us with special abilities (not like flying or walking on water) that encourage and uplift the family of God. Of course, the family of God is just all those around the world that genuinely trust in Christ and walk with Him daily. We can also help those not yet in the family of God but seeking and searching.
These abilities are unique and are not talents based on genetics. We may have a disposition for the gifts, but they are not utilized supernaturally or appropriately without Spirit empowerment. The intent of the spiritual gifts and one distinction from natural gifts is to uplift someone in their faith. Maybe they are struggling with faith in general. They don’t know what they believe, so we point them to their loving Creator. Maybe they have a relationship with Christ already, but they are going through a trial. We minister to them not because we feel like it, not because we expect something in return, not because our parents raised us to help others. We do this for Christ’s sake and the other person’s sake.
How do we know what spiritual gift or gifts we possess? First, we must have the Spirit within us to manifest these gifts, and that only occurs from turning our life over to Christ. Then instead of focusing on which gift we may have, we begin looking for those we can encourage in the faith. Do we enjoy teaching, serving, providing resources, or speaking compassionate words (to name a few)? What we enjoy doing, for God’s sake and the other person’s sake, is most likely the spiritual gift the Spirit has provided.
At COR, we are discussing spiritual gifts Sunday. We would enjoy you joining us. We all have something to contribute. When we are not contributing, something is missing, and we are missing out on something. Let us know if you have questions.