Spiritual Gifts


I was just reading a devotional that talked about how Joseph (as in the coat of many colors, not Jesus’ step-dad) was gifted by God in administration and his gifts were utilized, and it all ended up a pretty big deal. (For a brief example of Joseph’s success, click here but I recommend reading the book of Genesis from chapter 37 to the end.)

Spiritual gifting is a tricky concept.  It’s not always agreed upon as to what constitutes a spiritual gift.   Is a spiritual gift the same thing as a natural talent, even if it’s something that doesn’t seem spiritual?  I have a natural gift as a singer.  I’ve been singing all my life.  Is that a spiritual gift?

I recently did an assessment of my spiritual gifts (not a terribly in-depth one, but there were over 100 questions) and it placed Music as my number one spiritual gift.  So what does that mean?  How does one utilize a gift of music?  Especially when that someone is hard of hearing?  I have no gift instrumentally.  I can play the guitar a little but I have bad dexterity and can’t do any F- or B-chord to save my life.  When I was much younger I was able to teach myself the piano (I’ve often thought that if we’d had a piano when I was growing up, I’d know how to play it) but I can’t do it anymore.  So all I have is singing.  And that’s hard to do these days because I have troubles with my hearing (it’s not exactly that my ears aren’t working  – it seems more like my brain doesn’t want to process sound properly; although, there are some frequencies that I am deaf to).

My other spiritual gifts, at least the ones in that assessment I did, are even harder to see how to utilize.

The assessment I did had you list the 3 most dominant ones according to their score.  The highest score was Music.  The next highest was Mercy, and this one I had to look up because I didn’t understand what it meant.  Mercy was described as “the ability to feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals who suffer distressing physical, mental, or emotional problems, and to translate that compassion into cheerfully-done deeds which reflect Christ’s love and alleviate the sufferings as well as motivate others to help (Matthew 9:35-36; Mark 9:41;  1Thessalonians 5:14). “*

Does that sound like me?  I guess it does.  I love to help people with their problems, I cry with other people’s pain (that’s why I can’t watch World Vision programs – they tear the heart out of me).  I hurt when others hurt and I love nothing more than to put a smile on a hurting persons face.  But do I get the opportunity to do this type of thing?  Not really.  I lived so hermit-like for such a long time that I still don’t really know people and no one that I know now, knows me well enough that they want to come to me with their pain.  Volunteering is hard to do too because they always require a commitment of time that I’m not certain I can always make – I have my family to look after.  I sometimes think I should go into nursing, but with the physical limitations I’ve had for so long, I don’t see how I could.

The third most dominant was a tie of three different, yet similar gifts: Discernment, Exhortation, & Wisdom.  The definitions are as follows:

DISCERNMENT: The ability to know with assurance whether certain behavior purported to be of God is in reality divine, human, or satanic. The purpose of this gift is to prevent confusion and false teaching from infiltrating the church (Matthew 16:21-23; Acts 5:1-11; Acts 16:16-18; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 John 4:1-6).

EXORTATION: The ability to minister words of encouragement, consolation, comfort, and motivation from God’s Word to help others complete their tasks and be all that God want them to be (Acts 4:32-37; 14:22; Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:13; Hebrews 10:24.25).

WISDOM: The ability to apply spiritual truth to a specific issue in a specifically relevant fashion, and to make proper choices in difficult situations, based on listening and sufficient information (Acts 6:3,10; 1 Corinthians 2:1-13; 12:8; James 1:5; 2 Peter 3:15).  **

Now do these sound like me?  Well, it comes as a surprise to me too, but yes.  They apply to me when I am strong in my walk with God.  I know of many specific time when I used these gifts in the past.  I haven’t used them much recently because of the struggles I’ve been going through – but I realize now that these bumps in my road are the only way God can teach me what He’s trying to teach me. (I wish I wasn’t so hard-headed; then maybe He could teach me things in a much gentler fashion.)

But, we’re back to how do I use these gifts?  Like I said, people don’t come to me with their problems, seek me out for encouragement or ask my advice on anything.  And it seems, at least to me, like I have no business offering it to anyone.  (I once, quite recently, was given a vision of two separate churches and how God was moving in them.  I told both pastors about it, but I don’t think, not that I really know, that they listened to me or thought what I said had any merit.)

I kept myself hidden from everyone for so long, but discovered how destructive that is.  So I have been trying to be open and vulnerable.  Maybe I’m doing that too much, leaving myself open to judgement so people don’t trust me or something.

I don’t know.

I guess I have to leave it in God’s hands.  He wouldn’t have gifted me this way if He didn’t want me to use them.  Perhaps I’m at another waiting-on-the-Lord point in my life.  I’m not a fan of these – patience has never been my virtue.  But God also led me to do the Hidden Joy bible study I’m posting about too.  Maybe it’s more about working on Sharon before Sharon can help anyone else.  Maybe that’s what it is.

Well, I will try to be patient, or rather, I will pray for patience, and see what God has in store for me.

Be blessed,

Sharon

What do you think about spiritual gifts?

 

*http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=32839&columnid=3881
** ibid

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6 Responses to Spiritual Gifts

  1. Lee Ann says:

    I am very much enjoying reading your blog. I like this post about Spiritual Gifts. I went to the site you posted and did the assesment they had there to see where my strengths would be. After listing my top three and reading the descriptions for them I really thought about all of them and I can really see where each of them can be true for me.

    I am also doing the Hidden Joy Bible study and am very much enjoying reading your posts about the study. Thank you for sharing with all of us!

  2. Cheryl S says:

    Well… you asked for comments on this topic so here are mine:
    A spiritual gift is like any other gift – it is ours to do with as we wish. It’s like if someone gives us a car. It’s a car, not driving lessons, licences, insurance or maintenance. You can become a racecar driver, a shuttle for seniors or let the car sit in the garage and rust – its entirely up to you how you use and develop it. In Proverbs 18:16 it say that a man`s gifts make a place for him. It doesn`t matter whether the pastors took heed of your message or not – your only job is to do your part which was the message. To be worried about whether they followed through or not as validation is trying to use your gifts to fulfill unmet needs in your own life. As a discernment person myself, I battle with this a lot – it doesn’t make me important or special when someone takes to heart something that I’ve said anymore than it makes me a loser if they don’t. It doesn’t validate my giftings at all.
    A man’s gifts make a place for him. It doesn’t say “as long as you have access to groups of people everyday or people are lined up to hear you speak or 10000 people read your blog” it says it makes a place. If you have the gift of encouragement…encourage!! Send out encouraging emails to people in leadership, your kid’s teachers, your church secretary ( as a former one, believe me, its a thankless job somedays) or your friends. Make it personal – just for them.
    Maybe your lovely voice isn’t meant for thousands but is the thing that will spur your daughter on to great things of God. You seem to have a real focus on the reasons why you percieve that you can’t do things and the negative side of things and I’m saying your giftings will make a way for you if you don’t pre-determine the only acceptable way of doing it. God bless you as you work it out.

    • Sharon G. says:

      Thanks Cheryl. This is the word I needed. I do have troubles with believing in my capabilities. I tend to feel like I’ve failed at most things.

      You have given me some clarity on the issue. Thank you!

  3. Rhea says:

    (Copied from a Proverbs 31 Ministries Facebook Post):
    I can’t be everything to everyone. I can be somthing to someone though. Who can I show the love of Christ to right now? {He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” ~John 21:16}

    I bring this to say that one’s Spiritual gifts are no less meaningful if they touch one person than if thousands of people receive the benefit. Touching one life is so important that Jesus told the parable of the one lost sheep. He put the 99 in the fold, and proceeded to search for that one lost sheep. He saw the value of each life.

    If your gift is Exhortation/Encouragement, look for ways to be a blessing to someone around you, who may be feeling down. It could be as simple as buying coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks, or sitting beside a hurting friend and listening.

    I know I have been encouraged by your honesty in your blog. (It comforts me to know that I’m not the only one who doesn’t have it all together! LOL! 😉

    As far as your thought, …”And it seems, at least to me, like I have no business offering it to anyone,” goes, that is the biggest lie that the enemy uses against us. He tempts us to sin, entices us at our weakest points, then throws it back in our faces if we give in. When he does this, quote the following verse by the apostle Paul:

    II Corinthians 12: 9-10 (NIV)–“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

    I only offer these words because this is my struggle, my thought pattern. I look at my struggles, my propensity to sin, and tell myself that I have no business trying to be an influence to anyone. I am right there, if I am operating in my own strength, but it is God’s grace that makes me worthy of being called by Him. If I relied on my own strength, I would be doomed.

    🙂 Rhea

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