No Gift Quite Like Yours

17 Oct

It’s always to good to know where our gifts and talents lie.

Sugar Ray LeonardSugar Ray Leonard once spoke at Harvard. The amiable boxer said:

“I consider myself blessed. I consider you blessed. We’ve all been blessed with God-given talents.

“Mine just happens to be beatin’ people up!” (1)

Victor Borge at PianoPianist Victor Borge was once asked if he played any other musical instruments.

Borge answered, “Well, yes. I have another piano.” (2)

Both of these men were talking about talents more than spiritual gifts. Talents are wonderful, but your God-given spiritual gift will bring you the greatest blessing, if you use it ~ if you “bloom where you’re planted.” It is what makes you unique. It can also bring you favor with others, and increased success in life.

The Holy Spirit decides what spiritual gifts we should have (1 Corinthians 12:4-6), but spiritual gifts are not all about you. As Adrian Rogers said, your spiritual gift “is not for your enjoyment; it is for your employment.” There’s a reason you have it that is far bigger than you.

Spiritual Gifts GraphicSometimes as we discover our spiritual gifts and use the talents God has allowed us to develop, we focus on the benefits to our own lives, and that is OK … but it’s much better to focus on the JOY model ~ Jesus, Others, You.

First, we glorify God as we use the gifts He created in us. A better way to say this is, we display His creative glory through us. We have differing gifts according to the “grace given us” (Romans 12:6-8), and we reflect His image as the all-wise Creator. Our gifts aren’t a matter for pride, but for humility before God. It is His power working in us to properly use our gifts. We’re not to “size each other up” or compare ourselves with others.

I (Dawn) remember when I was in Bible college. I took an apologetics class, and I thrived there. The professor told me privately, “Dawn, you’ve got a better grasp on this than most of the guys in this class.” I remember my heart swelling with pride, and from then on until the end of the semester, I “noticed” when I outshone my male counterparts in the class. Yet I failed to understand that God was using all of us in different ways in that class, related to our gifts. 

For instance, I tended to shine in apologetics because my spiritual gift is teaching ~ and boy, could I spout facts and “truths” in debates. But one mercy-showing male classmate used what he learned in the class to reach out to others on the streets of Pennsylvania with the truth. Another used doctrines he learned to gently disciple a dorm-mate, a new believer. Was my gift superior to theirs? No, but in my comparisons, I missed how we ALL were glorifying God!

We need to thank God, the sovereign giver of gifts (Ecclesiastes 2:26a) for giving gifts to different degrees and for different purposes (1 Corinthians 12:18), rather than comparing ourselves with others (1 Corinthians 15:10). He gives a diversity of gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4), but for one purpose ~ to bring Him glory. Like the different instruments in an orchestra, we all have a part.

Second, we use our gifts for others’ benefit (1 Peter 4:10). The Apostle Peter said, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving others.” We are “members one of another” in the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5b) and we can use our spiritual gifts to encourage others, serve others, help others, give to others, lead others … and many other “others-focused” activities.Spiritual Gifts - wrappedFinally, though it’s not supposed to be our primary focus, using our gifts blesses us. As we give to others, it often returns to us. Perhaps blessings will flow back to us in the form of stronger relationships, financial gain, etc. ; but ultimately, using our gifts will bring us the greatest joy, because even when the work is difficult, and even if there is no response, we will know (and perhaps feel) that we are functioning as God intended.

Because we are all so unique ~ our gifts blend with our personalities, temperaments, skills, talents, interests, etc. ~ God will put us in various circumstances to use our gifts in special ways.

There are some things you can do that others cannot do … at least, not in the same way. There is no gift quite like yours! 

Take the Test[Note: Your church may have developed some spiritual gifts tests that are used for ministry development. Check there first. Disclaimer: I do not personally endorse the following online spiritual gifts evaluations … they are only suggestions… do your own research: The Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts Inventory; The Spiritual Gifts Test with automatic analysis; The Spiritual Gifts Test Inventory; and the Gifted 2 Serve Spiritual Gifts Inventory. Here’s one for youth ~ Youth Spiritual Gifts Test.]

(1) Michael Hodgin, 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking (Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), p. 32, #55

(2) ibid., p. 337, #895

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