Gifts - Monday Musing, May 24, 2021
Gifts. Who doesn’t like to receive a gift? Birthday, anniversary, Christmas, or just because. Many people love to give gifts, but everyone loves to receive gifts, especially when the gift is well thought out and just what we want or need. While the normal definition of gift is “a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present;” the second definition often gets overlooked: “a natural ability or talent.”
When you consider that definition, many people might minimize their natural abilities or talents. In my Pentecost message yesterday, I mentioned the Apostle Paul’s words from his first letter to the church at Corinth: “To each is given a gift of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Cor 12:7). Just what are “spiritual gifts” anyway? The gifts of the Spirit are unique skills and abilities given by the Holy Spirit to faithful followers of Christ to serve God for the common benefit of the church.
A listing of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 mentions wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. Comparable gifts are discussed in Ephesians 4:7-13, Isaiah 11:2-3, and Romans 12:3-8. The gifts of the Spirit are simply God empowering Christians to do what God has called us to do.
But how do we discern whether we possess these gifts that are mentioned? Recognizing (or attaining) spiritual gifts is not a goal to be achieved. Gifts are not a hobby to play with; they are tools that are not for the benefit of the one to whom they are given. The gifts of the Spirit are only powerful when they are used for the common good, when they are shared with the community.
And it is often in community that we discover what spiritual gifts we possess. So don’t minimize your ability, let the community of faith help you discover your gifts. May you “come to the knowledge of the truth” concerning your gifts, and then share them, generously.
See you in church!