The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
I wonder what goes through your mind when you read a title like this? I guess in any church fellowship there will be a pretty mixed reaction ranging from curiosity to interest to pleasure to scepticism. Well, I would invite you to read certain passages in the Bible, ie. Romans 12: vv. 6 to 8, 1 Corinthians 12: vv. 7 to 11, Ephesians 4: vv.11 & 12, and finally 1 Peter 4: vv. 10 & 11. There are numerous gifts talked of in these verses such as Prophesying, Serving, Teaching, Encouraging, Giving, Leading, Wisdom, Healing, Discernment and so on. I’m sure you will be able to find several more, and I dare say that there are other gifts that come to light in a church fellowship as Christians seek to do the will of the Lord.
As you read these passages in the Bible it is significant to me that these gifts are not restricted to any one person, nor just to the leaders of a fellowship: the gifts are for ALL believers and, as it suggests, we are ALL parts of the “body” and have different gifts according to the grace given to us. We are urged to discover our gifts and make use of them in order to build up each other, ie. ”the church”, and in our ministry to others.
No one gift is “better“ than any other, no one person is any more “important“ than any other because of the gift that they have; in fact, I think that knowing that you have a gift and that God has blessed you in that way makes you feel very humble, and you are filled with the desire to serve and share with others.
One of the most difficult things can be to know exactly what your gift is and it does seem to be often true that someone else in your fellowship will recognise it in you. This, I think, is where the wonderful gift of encouragement is so valuable: how amazing to be able to see things in others and to be able to encourage them in their own God-given ministry.
Sometimes I think certain gifts come to light because of a particular set of circumstances, and maybe a gift is given for a particular time, is used, and may not be seen in that way again. Suffice to say that we should be open to what God wants of us and to be prepared to do His bidding.
This would suggest to me, and I hope to you too, that we need to come before the Lord in prayer to seek His will for us over and over again. We should go to the leaders in our fellowship and our prayer partners and seek their help and guidance, and we should give thanks to God for the gifts he has given to us and be willing to be used by Him in practising our gifts.
A word of caution here: I know that there are churches and fellowships that do not recognise the Gifts of The Spirit: they maintain that they ended with the Disciples. I do not agree with this and I don’t feel that is what the Bible says, and I know I am not alone in my belief that the gifts are still available for us today. Also, not all fellowships or churches encourage the use of the gifts. I wonder if they are afraid of them? I believe that unless we do use the gifts to build up the church fellowships we will not be truly effective as Christians in the world today.
The gifts help to promote mission, they help us to widen the boundaries of the church. As followers of Christ we are ALL – individually and collectively – to use our gifts to proclaim the Good News, and that is so wherever we are.