Sunday, June 5, 2011

Discover my spiritual gifts

How can I discover my spiritual gifts?

This is probably the most common question asked in connection with gifts. I always respond with, “What do you enjoy most about serving the Lord?” Notice, I don’t ask, “How are you serving the Lord?” I am interested in what they enjoy doing. You will look forward to the responsibilities you are given that call on you to use your gift. On the other hand, you will not be as motivated for tasks that are outside your giftedness.

When we minister to others through our gifts, we are tapping into the inexhaustible energy and motivation of God. When we exercise our gifts, the Holy Spirit works through us. We experience an extra measure of energy and joy.

Serving outside our gifts is a different story altogether. I believe this is the primary reason so many Christians get burned out on church work. Instead of finding a position where they can use their gifts, they sign up for whatever task is available. They do their best as long as they can take it, then they quit.

You can take spiritual gifts tests. But probably the best way to discover your gift is to serve in a variety of ministry situations. When you find the area that suits your gift, you will know it.

The Spiritual Gifts

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How should I use my spiritual gifts?

Would you like to learn to use your spiritual gift? Then you must find a place to serve. It is in the practice of your gift that you will best learn to use it. Peter wrote, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). The emphasis is on using our gifts to serve others, not ourselves.

Once again we are reminded that no one is a spiritual island. Our spiritual progress, as well as the progress of the whole church, hinges on our willingness to work together. What about you? Are you using your gift for the common good of the body? Are you encouraging other members of your church to use their gifts?

Peter was so convinced that God ministers directly through our gifts that he said the person who has a speaking gift should speak as if he was actually speaking for God. The one with a gift of service will serve with the strength of God. This explains a phenomenon I have seen in churches all over the country. When people serve within the context of their spiritual gifts, they seem to do so effortlessly. There is little stress. And they don’t tire easily. They emerge from their service with such excitement that they are generally ready for more. On the other hand, assign that same job description to someone who isn’t gifted for it and it becomes dreadfully stressful.

I know a man who attends a Sunday school class where they take turns teaching the lesson. He loves the Lord and loves his class, but teaching is not his gift. He dreads the Sunday he is assigned to teach. In his words, “I would rather cut a truckload of wood!” Some misinformed soul may hear a comment like that and be tempted to say, “Well, I guess he isn’t very committed!” But nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s not a question of commitment. It’s a question of giftedness.

For all of us, busyness has become the rule rather than the exception. Sunday may be the only time you can do things as a family. If you travel during the week, you may need Sunday afternoon to prepare for the following week. Other commitments may make it impossible for you to attend the midweek service at your church or serve on any committees. But these don’t excuse you from your responsibility to the body of Christ.

You have an important role, a role only you can fill. Your God-given gift may serve you well in your secular pursuits. But those must be secondary to your involvement in God’s work. It is God’s will for you to be exercising your gifts for the common good of His people. If the church you attend does not provide you with flexible opportunities to do so, find another one. But whatever you do, exercise that gift!

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