It wasn’t too long after creation that the animals got together to form a school. They wanted the best school possible — one that offered their students a well-rounded curriculum of swimming, running, climbing, and flying. In order to graduate, all the animals had to take all the courses.
The duck was excellent at swimming. In fact, he was better than his instructor. But he was only making passing grades at climbing and was getting a very poor grade in running. The duck was so slow in running that he had to stay after school every day to practice. Even with that, there was little improvement. His webbed feet got badly worn from running, and with such worn feet, he was then only able to get an average grade in swimming. Average was quite acceptable to everyone else, so no one worried much about it — except the duck.
The rabbit was at the top of her class in running. But after a while, she developed a twitch in her leg from all the time she spent in the water trying to improve her swimming.
The squirrel was a peak performer in climbing but was constantly frustrated in flying class. His body became so bruised from all the hard landings that he did not do too well in climbing and ended up being pretty poor in running.
The eagle was a continual problem student. She was severely disciplined for being a nonconformist. For example, in climbing class, she would always beat everyone else to the top of the tree but insisted on using her own way to get there.
Each of the animals had a particular area of expertise. When they did what they were designed to do, they excelled. When they tried to operate outside their area of expertise, they were not nearly as effective. Can ducks run? Sure they can. Is that what they do best? Definitely not.
People Who Excel
Just as each of those animals has an area in which he or she excels, so do God’s people. As a believer, each of us has become “a new creature in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Part of that new creation is the distribution of what the Bible calls spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12). Those gifts enable us to excel, but we will not accomplish much of anything if we aren’t doing the things we were intended to do.
We already know that every Christian has been given a spiritual gift. It also bears repeating that spiritual gifts answer the What should I do? question.
- Your gift indicates the role, function, or particular way in which God has intended you to serve.
Do you know what the various spiritual gifts are? Do you know your spiritual gift?
Many studies have been done and many books have been writ- ten on the subject of spiritual gifts. While there is general agreement, most of them vary in their listing of the gifts and the specific descriptions that they give each gift. There is full agreement, however, that
- God has given spiritual gifts to His followers, and they are to be used to glorify God and edify others.
What Are the Spiritual Gifts?
There are several passages that mention some of the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12; Ephesians 4; 1 Peter 4). Our list is drawn from these and other passages in order to identify the variety of ways that God has designed the church to serve Him, itself, and the world.
As you read about the gifts, reflect on your own ministry and experience. See which of these seem to be most true of you. Also, note which gifts sound like someone you know. Remember, there is no right or wrong spiritual gift. They are just different.
Now would be a good time for you to see what spiritual gift God may have given you.
Spiritual Gifts/ Descriptions
Administration - The divine enablement to understand what makes an organization function, and the special ability to plan and execute procedures that accomplish the goals of the ministry.
Apostleship - The divine ability to start and oversee the development of new churches or ministry structures.
Craftsmanship - The divine enablement to creatively design and/or construct items to be used for ministry.
Creative Communication - The divine enablement to communicate God’s truth through a variety of art forms.
Discernment - The divine enablement to distinguish between truth and error, to discern the spirits, differentiating between good and evil, right and wrong.
Encouragement - The divine enablement to present truth so as to strengthen, comfort, or urge to action those who are discouraged or wavering in their faith.
Evangelism - The divine enablement to effectively communicate the Gospel to unbelievers so they respond in faith and move toward discipleship.
Faith - The divine enablement to act on God’s promises with confidence and unwavering belief in his ability to fulfill his purposes.
Giving - The divine enablement to contribute money and resources to the work of the Lord with cheerfulness and liberality.
Healing - The divine enablement to be God’s means for restoring people to wholeness.
Helps - The divine enablement to attach spiritual value to the accomplishment of practical and necessary tasks that free up, support, and meet the needs of others.
Hospitality - The divine enablement to care for people by providing fellowship, food, and shelter.
Intercession - The divine enablement to consistently pray on behalf of and for others; thus seeing frequent and specific results.
Interpretation - The divine enablement to make known to the body of Christ the message of one who is speaking in tongues.
Knowledge - The divine enablement to bring truth to the body through a revelation or biblical insight.
Leadership - The divine enablement to cast vision, motivate, and direct people to harmoniously accomplish the purposes of God.
Mercy - The divine enablement to cheerfully and practically help those who are suffering or are in need.
Miracles - The divine enablement to authenticate the ministry and message of God through supernatural interventions that glorify Him.
Prophecy - The divine enablement to reveal truth and proclaim it in a timely and relevant manner for understanding, correction, repentance, or edification.
Shepherding - The divine enablement to nurture, care for, and guide people toward ongoing spiritual maturity and becoming like Christ.
Teaching - The divine enablement to understand, clearly explain, and apply the Word of God, thus causing greater Christlikeness in the lives of listeners.
Tongues - The divine enablement to speak, worship, or pray in a language unknown to the speaker.
Wisdom - The divine enablement to apply spiritual truth effectively to meet a need in a specific situation.
Isn’t it amazing how many different ways we can glorify God and edify others? You may have identified with several of these gifts. Which are your top three gifts and are most descriptive of you?
While every believer has at least one spiritual gift, many have several gifts, called a gift mix. The combinations of these gifts give them unique abilities to serve in various ways. For example, if you have gifts of mercy, encouragement, and hospitality, your gifts indicate a warm and tender expression of God’s grace. You are able to focus on the lonely, forgotten, and needy with the connecting and belonging desires of hospitality along with the motivating and comforting aspects of encouragement. You value, support, and build the esteem of those around them. That is different from just having the gift of encouragement.
Another example: the mix of administration, leadership, and wisdom indicates a strong ability to identify what needs to be done and to articulate the best way to do it. The systematic approach of administration plus the visionary dimensions of leadership enables you to move people and events forward. Others will sense that much of what you present “makes sense,” and they will cooperate. This mix contributes more than the single gift of administration.
So, as you are seeking how to serve, consider your gift mix. See how your gift(s) are affirmed through your ministry involvements.
Excerpted with permission from What You Do Best by Bruce Bugbee, copyright Bruce Bugbee.
* * *
What do you do well? What is your area of expertise? God has designed you for specific purposes! You can do all sorts of things, but at some things you are particularly effective for the Kingdom of God. What are they? Come share with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily