Let’s start here with something fun. Here’s a scenario that I want you to think through and discuss with those around you. If your family is not with you, reach out to a Christian friend and discuss this together. Ready? Here we go.
While at home together, you and your family decide to do some baking. Baking is fun and everyone loves the way the house smells when something delicious is baking in the oven. Spirits are high as the anticipation of your fresh baked goodness awaits you; it’s just moments away! Mom opens the oven and takes out the fresh-baked pie. As she goes to put it on the counter to cool, she trips over the dog and things quickly fade to slow motion as the fresh-baked pie flies through the air and falls as a pile of mush all over the kitchen floor… 10-second rule! No, not this time. The pie is sadly lost.
What is your FIRST response to the situation and to Mom?
What do you do?
What do you say?
So what does this illustration have to do with spiritual gifts? I’ll connect the dots in a few minutes, but first, let’s take a quick look at what the Bible really says about spiritual gifts. Pastor Mike has been preaching through 1 Peter and recently we looked at this verse, 1 Peter 4:11. It says, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” This is echoed by the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 12 when he said, “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 12:6-8). In 1 Corinthians 12:4,11 Paul again tells us, “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all…It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.”
What can we take away from these verses?
- God has given EACH Christian, young and old, a spiritual gift.
- Not only does the Holy Spirit give us spiritual gifts, HE WANTS US TO USE THEM! Christianity is not a spectator sport – No sideline sitters, God wants us each in the game!
- We all have different gifts as God has specifically and uniquely wired us differently from each other. Can you imagine if we all had the same gift? Yeah, let’s not think about it!
- These gifts are to build up our fellow Christians, the body of Christ. When we use our spiritual gifts, God is glorified, His body is edified and our witness to the world is strengthened as we, the church, fire on all cylinders!
So how can I know what my spiritual gift is?
First of all, you need to ask God to show you. Pray and ask Him. Look at what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:1, “Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.” Later on, in 1 Corinthians Paul says, “Pursue love, yet earnestly desire spiritual gifts…” God isn’t looking to play hide and seek with our spiritual gifts. He wants us to use them. Trust Him to show you. “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11)
While you are asking God to show you, the next step is to watch. Watch to see what you are passionate about when it comes to the things of God. Watch your reactions to the things going on around you. Take for EXAMPLE my opening illustration with the pie. Everyone is going to have a different reaction and response to the same event.
How do you think someone with the spiritual gift of mercy will react? They are going to show empathy and feel the pain and embarrassment of the mom.
How about someone with the gift of administration? This person will probably rally the troops to clean the mess: “OK, Johnny, you go and get some paper towels, Sally grab a sponge. Bill, can you get a garbage bag?” They are using their spiritual gift to organize everyone’s efforts.
How would someone with the gift of teaching respond? They might analyze the situation to understand how this happened so it can be prevented in the future.
How about a prophet (the truth-teller)? The prophet may be thinking, “If you were just more careful and looked where you were going none of this would have happened!” That may be true, but in the moment it may not be helpful or edifying to say. (Yeah, it’s sometimes best that the prophet not say anything!)
How would the server react? Before anyone says anything, they quickly jump in and help to clean up. They see a need and address it.
The giver? “Hey, no worries, after we clean up I’m taking everyone to Carvel!” Hopefully you get the picture.
Finally you can take a spiritual gift test. These tests are not perfect or always 100% accurate, BUT they can point you in the right direction and give you an idea of how God has uniquely wired you to serve Him. A lot can be said about spiritual gifts, and quite frankly, the most thorough teaching I have ever heard on this topic came from Pastor Ayars. I was grateful to have sat in on his seminar on Spiritual Gifts on more than one occasion. I won’t even come close in a short email to cover what Pastor Ayars often did in a full morning seminar, BUT during this time of quarantine, I thought it would be a fun activity to begin the process of identifying our spiritual gift.
So what’s the next step? Start by clicking on this link and take a FREE Spiritual Gift Assessment. It takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Before you take the test, a few thoughts…
- Answer honestly! Don’t answer based on what will make you look good, be honest. For instance, one of the statements in the test says, “I have a strong desire to study the Bible.” Who wants to admit that they don’t want to study the Bible? You may feel the pressure to say YES because that would seem like the right answer. You may think, “Wow I must not be a good Christian if I answer that question as no, so I’ll say what I think it should be!” Try not to do that! Be honest as it will give you a more accurate view of your spiritual gift.
- Don’t overthink each of the statements. Pick the one that you identify with most of the time.
- Once you are done with the test, read through the detailed results that they will send to your email. For mine, I agreed with most of what they wrote, but not everything was 100% accurate…that’s OK! You are just taking a step. Read it with an open mind. Share and discuss the results with those closest to you as they may have some more insight and input for you.
- Have fun!
We’ll chat again tomorrow and I’ll share some follow-up thoughts.