We Are All Gifted Children!
Within the Body of Christ, God has given us various gifts. Romans 12:6 reads, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.”
What is a spiritual gift? Charles Swindoll's definition is “a skill or ability which enables a Christian to perform a function within the body of Christ with ease and effectiveness.”
Let’s take a look at the three aspects of that definition:
First, a spiritual gift is a skill or ability. Sometimes, people think they have no spiritual gifts because they don’t know what to look for. One of my friends was like that. She was a fairly new Christian and I was discipling her. She was convinced she had no spiritual gifts. So for about three months, I listened carefully to the things she said, and watched what she did. And you know what she did? She met an old friend on the bus and immediately invited them to church. She had an intense desire to talk about Jesus, so walked up to a neighbor’s house and “talked Jesus” to her for two hours. She led her sister to the Lord in the hour her sister’s flight was delayed.
My friend is a very gifted evangelist. She just has what it takes to introduce people to Jesus. But she didn’t recognize it, probably because it came so naturally and was such a normal part of her.
That’s the way it is with most spiritual gifts. It’s a skill or an ability you probably do every day.
Let’s go to the second point – a spiritual gift is something you do with ease and effectiveness.
It “comes naturally” to you. But in fact, it’s more than that – it comes supernaturally to you. Because a spiritual gift is part of you, you may not realize that it is in fact a supernatural gift from God. You may think that you should be walking down the street, minding your own business, and a spiritual gift would be if you were suddenly surrounded with a halo of light and developed the evangelistic power of Billy Graham in an instant when you normally can’t put two words together.
Not usually. A spiritual gift is part of you, and it’s something that you do well in the normal course of your life. One of my gifts is teaching. Many people have commented, “I just couldn’t stand up in front of people and talk … how do you do it?” Honestly, it’s easy to me. I just do it. People have also asked, “How do you come up with lessons? It must be hard and take a lot of time.” I do spend hours on each lesson, but actually, it usually comes easy. I look at a passage, or at a book of the Bible, or at a topic, and in fairly short order everything falls into a general outline with the major points and applications delineated, and then it’s just a matter of fleshing it out.
The point is, a spiritual gift comes with ease to you. It’s a skill or ability you have that you don’t have to struggle to do well.
So far, though, what we’ve said could also be said for a natural talent. The key point that differentiates a natural talent from a spiritual gift is the third point of the definition: a spiritual gift enables a Christian to perform a function within the body of Christ.
I am talented at crafts: I’m always working on some fun project. You might be talented at skiing: you fly down the slopes like you were born to them. A friend might be talented at organizing things: you wish her home was yours. But these aren’t spiritual gifts unless they enable you to perform a function within the body of Christ.
Spiritual gifts bear fruit within the body of Christ. When my friend whom I spoke of earlier talks to someone about God, they almost inevitably end up going to church with her. Often when she asks them about salvation, they’re born again within two hours. Now, when I share the gospel, I never have results that come anywhere close to what she does day by day. Why? Because evangelism is her gift, not mine. I’m called to share the Good News – we all are – but the fruit she bears in that area far outshines mine. And that’s okay. Why? Because we all have different gifts designed to accomplish different tasks, working together to bring the kingdom of God on earth.
So, as Swindoll writes, a spiritual gift is “a skill or ability which enables a Christian to perform a function within the body of Christ with ease and effectiveness.”
What are your spiritual gifts? If you don’t know, seek out a spiritual gifts questionnaire: there are many online and printed versions available.