Gifts of grace – Hope 103.2

Gifts of grace

By David ReayTuesday 26 Sep 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.

7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. (NLT)

Some of us have filled in so-called ‘gift questionnaires’ which help us identify our spiritual gifts. Some of us have serious doubts about all that! And here is why…

The phrase ‘spiritual gift’ doesn’t actually occur in Scripture: the phrase is ‘charismata’ or a thing of grace. The emphasis is on the gracious giver who bestows abilities according to how they can best honour him and build up the church.

So it might not be correct to refer to our possessing any such gift. Rather it might be best to recognise that the Spirit gives such abilities as he pleases when he pleases. I might have a gift of teaching on Sunday morning when it is needed but not on Monday afternoon when it is not needed. Instead I might be given a gift of mercy if I encounter someone in need, or a gift of leadership if a group needs direction. Gifts come and go: we get them when and if needed. We don’t fill in a form and decide we possess them.

It is different with ministries—and here is where those forms might be useful. God may equip some of us with certain gifts repeatedly so we exercise a particular ministry according to such gifting. But the fact that he equips you to teach regularly doesn’t mean you don’t bother about showing mercy when needed.

And one more thing: those gift lists aren’t exhaustive. They are examples of a principle. There are many abilities not listed in the Bible but are practised in the church. Seek to serve God and others: that is a better way of experiencing a gift than filling in a form.

David Reay

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