Sunday, July 13, 2014

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

A few years ago, I started to try to figure out what giftings the Holy Spirit had given me.  As Matt Chandler (President of Acts 29 network and lead pastor of The Village Church in Texas) said in a sermon recently, there are gifts that people are born with and other gifts that people receive when they're saved.  Some things, like compassion, people have naturally.  It's a personality trait that they have and they don't need to be saved to be compassionate (now, we can argue whether they're really being altruistically compassionate or if they hope to gain something in the end, but that's a different rabbit trail).  Other things, like the gift of healing, people only get from the Holy Spirit after they've been saved.

When I first started thinking about the gifts I have, I realized that one of my dominant gifts is the gift of generosity.  I like to give people things (money or material items) and whenever our church has a need or a drive, I always want to help.  It's pretty easy for me to be open-handed with our money and resources because I truly believe that we don't own anything (God does) and He expects us to be generous with the things He's entrusted to us.

Another gift that I've only recently come to realize that I have is the gift of encouragement.  This one is kind of weird because being encouraging in conversation with people isn't usually natural for me (and it usually is for people who are natural encouragers).  When I'm thinking about someone, I can carry on a whole conversation in my head and say all sorts of encouraging things to them.  But it feels awkward to say those things out loud to them.  So I started doing something else that's really working for me.  I write.  I have a box of cards on my desk and I write out the things I want to say to someone.  Sometime it's a birthday card, sometimes it's a thank-you card, sometimes it's just an anonymous card of encouragement.  I really like doing the cards because it not only gives me the opportunity to say the things I want to to someone but just about everyone loves getting mail. 

The following is a pretty conclusive list of the gifts: exhortation, giving/generosity, mercy, prophecy, service, teaching, administration, leadership, discernment, faith, healing/miracles, knowledge, tongues, wisdom, evangelism, celibacy, hospitality, martyrdom, voluntary poverty.  I think we err if we think we only have to do those things that we're gifted for.  On the contrary, we should strive to become good at the things we aren't naturally gifted at doing while continuing to exercise those gifts that are easier for us to do.  There are some that may not apply to your life (for example, those who are married shouldn't be practicing the gift of celibacy) and some that shouldn't be practiced without supervision and input from church leadership (for example, trying to heal someone or cast out a demon - those types of things shouldn't be taken lightly). 

If you haven't thought about what you may be gifted at, I hope this blog post encourages you to think about it.  Knowing and using your gifts is important to the edification of the body of Christ and the advancement of His kingdom.  And if you are exercising your gifts but have excused yourself from the others because they aren't natural giftings, hopefully you'll rethink that conclusion.  We mature and grow when we step outside our comfort zones.         

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