God likes variety. That’s why He created each person as a unique individual. You are one of a kind, and the Lord has specific tasks He’s designed just for you. Knowing this, how do you think you should approach life? One option is to live spontaneously, going wherever life takes you without too much thought for the future. The problem with this method is that you may come to the end of your life and realize you’ve been on the wrong path and haven’t accomplished what God had in mind.
Another approach is to set targets and pursue a course that will help you achieve them. Although this may sound like a better way to discover the Lord’s will for your life, you must consider whose plan you’re following. Is it God’s or yours? The goal is not just to be busy, but to live out the Lord’s purpose for your life. He’s willing to guide you into His plans if you’ll seek to know and obey Him.
He’s willing to guide you into His plans if you’ll seek to know and obey Him.
One of the ways He helps us discover His path for our lives is by giving us talents, skills, and spiritual gifts that are perfectly suited to our callings. Talents and skills are natural abilities with which we are born. These generally determine our interests and vocations. In contrast, spiritual gifts are divine endowments that equip us to serve the Lord effectively and successfully. They are chosen for us by God and given to us at the moment of our salvation. Knowing how the Lord has created and gifted us helps us discover what He desires for us to do.
You’ll find lists of the various spiritual gifts in Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28; Ephesians 4:11-12; and 1 Peter 4:10-11. If you’re not sure which one may be yours, consider what motivates you. For example, when I was trying to figure out which gift my mother may have had, I remembered how she used to send cards of encouragement to people who were sick or going through hard times. When she was older, she worked in a nursing home because she wanted to care for those who couldn’t care for themselves. By observing her life and her interests, it became clear to me that she had the gift of mercy.
Knowing and understanding the different spiritual gifts not only aids us in determining how God would have us serve in the church, but it also helps us accept and value how He has gifted others. With this in mind, let’s consider several facts regarding spiritual gifts.
First of all, every believer has at least one spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12:11). A simple way to discover yours is to examine how you respond to situations or needs. For example, suppose I invite several people to my house for dinner, and in the middle of the meal, I knock over my iced tea. The person with mercy immediately feels my discomfort and rushes to reassure me. The guest gifted with giving offers to buy a new glass to replace the one I broke. Someone with the gift of administration organizes the clean up, and the exhorter suggests that in the future I place my glass further away from the edge of the table. They each respond differently, but together they work as a whole to address the situation and solve the problem.
Second, spiritual gifts are given to us for the common good of the church. They are not for us, but for others. As we work according to our own unique giftedness, the church ben- efits (1 Cor. 12:7). That’s why Peter admonishes us to employ our spiritual gifts in serving one another (1 Pet. 4:10). When we actively use them to help others, we’ll effectively accomplish what God created us to do.
No matter how little we think we have to offer, the Lord wants us to make ourselves available to Him for service.
Third, we are to serve one another in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 4:11). Our spiritual gifts don’t originate with us and are not to be used in our own strength or for selfish purposes. If Christ’s disciples couldn’t accomplish the assignment He gave them without the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, neither can we. But as He guides, trains, and equips us, God’s work is accomplished through us.
Fourth, always remember that the work is the Lord’s, and we are stewards of the spiritual gifts He entrusts to us (1 Pet. 4:10). God has chosen to accomplish His work on earth through the church as we each employ our gifts. No matter how little we think we have to offer, the Lord wants us to make ourselves available to Him for service. We should never underestimate what He can do in our lives. He has the power to open doors of opportunity and provide all the resources we need to succeed. As the Spirit moves in our hearts to reveal needs and empowers us to respond according to the gifts He has given us, we accomplish His will.
I’d like you to consider how precious your spiritual gifting is. Your gifts were specially chosen for you by the Lord. But like any gift, they must be opened and used in order to benefit from them. Nothing will give you a greater sense of community and purpose than investing yourself in God’s work for the good of others.
Charles F. Stanley
P.S. September is a wonderful time for new beginnings. As activities pick up after the slower days of summer, it’s time to set priorities and goals. Here at In Touch, we truly appreciate the privilege to minister to you, and we pray that the Lord will equip and strengthen you to joyfully serve Him. If you’re not certain where your spiritual gifts lie, I encourage you to pray that the Lord would reveal them to you. You may also find it beneficial to discuss the matter with your local pastor.