1 Timothy 4:14-16
14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee
Do you have a spiritual gift? Maybe you have never used it, or even realized you have it, but I can guarantee you that you have a gift from God. We seem to take it for granted that this verse is talking about a spiritual gift., and that very well could be true. But there are so many gifts that God gives us we should not limit ourselves to thinking this way.
First. There are the gifts of the Spirit which are listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
There are some who say that these gifts are no longer needed in the church, or that they are no longer in operation. I am sad that they believe this because these gifts were given to edify the church and to show the power and manifestation of the Holy Spirit. I have personally seen all of these gifts in operation and have been used by the Spirit ion several of these gifts. My own personal belief is that the Holy Spirit can use anyone who is willing to listen to Him and step out in faith, and that he can use them in any one of these gifts at any time. It does not have to be in church, or some revival. Gpd can have the gift of miracles alive in my life when I am walking through Walmart, or he can give me a word of wisdom at the grocery store. We are so quick to limit God and put Him in a box that we can understand.
God wants these gifts in operation in every church. But many churches now shut their ears and mouths and don’t even want to work in these precious and powerful gifts. They do not know what they are missing and do not want anyone to tell them. They want to keep God in a place where they can understand His every move and not be awed by Him too much. It is sad to see these gifts neglected, especially when Paul tells us specifically not to neglect the gift that is within us. We have a responsibility to utilize what God has given each and every one of us. The parable of the talents makes that very clear. If the church would start to operate in these powerful gifts we would see revival sweep across this land and throughout the world. Are you neglecting the gift within you?
But the spiritual gifts are not the only gifts. In Romans 12:6-13, Paul list many more gifts that are given to the church.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
There are things on this list that each one of us is gifted with and just refuse to be used in that area. There are other things that you may not completely understand and you are already working in that gift. So let’s take a closer look at these gifts.
Prophecy – this is not just foretelling a future event, as many think it is. It can also be expounding about things in the present, or applying the word of God to a particular situation for someone else. Have you ever given someone a scripture verse that they needed at that time? Then you used the gift of prophecy. It is simply proclaiming the word.
Ministry – this would include praying for others or participating in some type of ministry to others like providing food or shelter. Ministry is a broad subject that most of us have some part in it. It is a gift that many have.
Teaching – this does not even have to be spiritual teaching necessarily. It can be any kind of teaching. Don’t even try to tell me the teachers in our schools are not gifted to do that! They deal with kids every day, and that is a gift. It definitely includes teaching biblical principles,. But please do not limit it to that.
Exhortation – This is also proclaiming the word, and would line up more with preaching or declaring God’s ways. When we share our testimony, which we all should be doing, we operate in this gift.
Giving – this is someone who gives over and above the tithe, or gives them self unselfishly to help others. It can be a talent we have, or our time, which is so precious.
One author puts it this way. “God loves a cheerful giver. How much He must be pleased when someone cheerfully gives of themselves.”
Ruler – this can apply to anyone in a position of authority. This can include deacons and elders, people who serve on a Board if Directors anywhere, people in management within the workplace or leaders in government. The ones who fill these roles are gifted by God to do so.
Mercy giver – We should all operate in this gift. We should always show mercy to others. But some are gifted above and beyond with the ability to show mercy to others with a cheerful heart, I am so glad for these people.
Love without dissimulation – This is a gift we should all practice and desire. Love without hypocrisy. Love your enemy. Love your neighbor, no matter who they are. Lover all the same. Don’t play favorites. Our love should be that of 1 Corinthians 13. This is a tall order, but we all need to strive for it.
Abhor evil and cleave to good – to abhor means to regard with disgust and hatred. We should hate evil and be disgusted by it. So much so that we stay as far away from it as possible. It is a gift to have this type of hatred for evil and to cleave, or become attached to only good. I want this gift!
Kindly affectioned one top another – there are some people who are much better at kindness than others. They always have a kind word and deals with others in a gentle way. These are not only fruit of the Spirit, but are also gifts given to the church. Don’t discount these kind, gentle people. They are mighty through their meekness.
In honor preferring one another – this gift is sorely lacking in our churches today and is one that I strive for on a daily basis. Putting the other person first is a lost art in our society where it is every man for himself and do whatever I can to get ahead. Let us not be so, but let us do all we can to help others succeed.
Not slothful in and worldly success. – I am sure you can recognize those who work hard and those who do not. This gift also usually brings with it prosperity. This is a remarkable gift to have and can benefit the church in so many ways business. Through the tithe and offerings, through help in making wise decisions, through leadership and mentoring programs – all of these take people who are not slothful.
Fervent in Spirt, serving the Lord – we all know those people in our church who have a heart for ministry. They are fervent about their work for God and take it very seriously. They are true servants of Christ and we depend on them to get things done in our churches. If you are not one of these, I ask you why not?
Rejoicing in hope – some people are always in the joy of the Lord because they see the hope that is set before them. They are not caught up in the day to day struggles we all face. The rejoice because they are saved and redeemed and it takes no more than that to bring their joy to the surface. I think I am blessed with this gift!
Patient in tribulation – I know that my trials are God’s perfecting agents (James 1:2-4). I know they strengthen my faith. I know I am on His timetable and he is in control. So I can wait in those troubling times. I can wait on the Lord!@
Continuing instant in prayer – with out our prayer warriors, our churches would fall. This is a category I need much help in. Oh I am good at praying when God brings someone to mind, or when I am told that prayer is needed. But I am not good at setting aside time to pray on a regular basis. I need much work on this one. I thank God for the silent prayer warriors.
Distributing to the necessity of the saints – I give when I can but most of my income goes into my own monthly needs. I wish I had more to distribute and I am thankful for those who can give more. Our church would fail without them, and many of yours would as well. But this also talks of giving of our time and talent. I do a little better there.
Given to hospitality – My wife and I have always been people who kept pretty much to ourselves. We don’t have people over often and don’t visit others much. I am thankful for those who each out to others and give of their homes and resources to make them feel welcome.
This is just one list of gifts that are given to the church. There are others but I have gone on long enough. I think you get the picture. People who have gifts like these need to step up on a regular basis and share them. We should all desire to be sued more often in these ministry gifts. We need to give ourselves wholly to the gifts that we are gifted with, stirring them up and not neglecting them. When we all do our part, we will see our churches grow both spiritually and physically in numbers. That is the purpose of the gifts. Let us utilize them for that purpose.