Thinking About The Gift

Thinking About The Gift
Image of wheat and asking "What is Your Spiritual Gift?“Every believer has been given at least one Spiritual Gift, by the grace of God, through the Holy Spirit, for the common good.” (1 Cor. 12:7)

All God’s children are gifted by the Grace of God, and not by their own personal effort or qualities (1 Cor. 12:7-11) . . . for the development of the church (Eph. 4:12). Can I believe I have God-given gifts to use in the service of the Lord? Do I wonder what these gifts are, or if I know them, how to use them? I think I may have a talent, or a skill, that I’ve developed and nurtured for my work, or family, or pleasure, but is that the same thing as a spiritual gift? Or is the difference about how and when I apply that gift? If God wants me to use my gift for others and the church, why isn’t this gift obvious to me, or to others who know me? I might recognize another’s giftedness by what I see them doing or saying, so why don’t I easily know my own?

And what about developing my spiritual gift? I’ve heard that, according to God’s design for the world, spiritual growth is the only kind of growth available to me that is unbounded by natural limitations, even death, which ultimately is the fate of all physical, organizational, or collective growth. That sounds like a very satisfying experience. I wonder what type of spiritual growth I need, or how to do it?

If I have a gift (OK, let’s say I do, as that is the promise in scripture), what motivates me to use this gift? Ah, of course, I’ll likely find a strong suggestion of the answer in the bible. I could “start at the top,” with God’s greatest gift to the world, Jesus Christ. But WHY, considering how that turned out for Jesus?

Well, let’s see, according to 1 John 4:8, “God is love,” and “God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, Jesus” (John 3:16), and Jesus said, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another,” . . . and “By your love, all will know you are my disciples,” (John 13: 34-35), and “If you love me, do my will” (John 14:15), and “As you have done to the least ones, so you have done to me,” (Matt. 25:40). Followed by Paul, “. . . what counts is faith expressed through love,” (Gal. 5:6), by James, “Faith without action is dead,” (James 2:17), and by John, “Love not with words, but with action and truth” (John 3:18), I see a very clear direction in the flow of gift responsibility from God to me, and the key to action of my gift use is love. You know other verses of similar instruction like, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (Mark 30:31).

With that kind of support, now I must find out what my gift(s) may be. How wonderful is God’s provision for my need that our church is sponsoring a Spiritual Gifts Assessment series in November! And it is available to all of us, so won’t you join me in this spiritual discovery? What might be the amazing potential for service in our community if all God’s people in this congregation knew, grew and poured out their gifts in love of others? We’ll meet November 20, either after the first service, or after the church luncheon. Put it on your calendar, especially to eat, then “get gifted.”

After a short orientation session on spiritual gifts, the large group will split into small groups, facilitated by trained leaders, for the discussion, assessment and naming of the specific giftedness of each person. Groups can be naturally (affinity/geography/etc.), or randomly, assembled, as the body decides. Following that revelation, or confirmation, of each person’s gift(s), each group will plan their next gatherings to discover our unique spiritual styles, to enable us to recognize our way of working our gifts, and then our specific fruit of the spirit, to determine where we are to start in the use of our own gifts.

This series is an outgrowth of PUMC’s collected experience with the Natural Church Development work, which is being applied now at the individual church attendee’s level. As the NCD resources used are copyright protected, a small fee/donation for our personal book and testing materials (~ $10) is needed.

Jeff Ransom, Lay Leader