When you hear the phrase “spiritual gifts,” what comes to mind? Why that reaction?
No matter what your reaction: When we each use the gifts God’s given us, together, He’s able to create something unique that can bring joy to others. God has a bigger plan, and every one of us is a part of it. He knows what we’re ready for, and He wants each of us to know it, too—whether we’re feeling ready yet or not. So let’s start figuring out together what God has in mind for each of us.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:8-11, NIV).
Now, read 1 Corinthians 12:4-12 and Romans 12:6-8, then think about these questions:
• What spiritual gifts do you see mentioned in these two passages? What are some others not mentioned here? (And yes, you could cheat and use the graphic on the right.)
• How could you see each of these gifts being used, either in the church or outside it?
• Let’s be honest: Some of these gifts look like things that anyone could do—and are. What, then, is the difference between a spiritual gift and a natural ability?
• Let’s take this to another level. Based on what you already know about yourself, which of these gifts make you say “That’s not me”? How could someone who has that gift help you?
There’s a quote I love by Watchman Nee, in his book Changed Into His Likeness (which I’ve only read, oh, maybe a dozen times) that I’ll share here: “When we see the holy purpose to which we are called, and then look upon ourselves, we too are utterly undone…. To know as a fact that the work is too sacred for me to touch—that is the beginning of my usefulness.”
So let me pick it up there: Do you really believe that God could actually call you to do His work? In what ways does His work still seem “too sacred for [you] to touch”?
And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, that’s OK—as long as you push through into discovering the answer to this question: Do you see any places right now where God is tugging on your heart to get involved? What do you think—or wish—you could contribute to that situation?
Don’t give up on yourself. God certainly hasn’t. Ask God to begin to revealing what He’s called you to, if you don’t already know. Ask Him to reveal the gifts He’s already given you, and for the faith and courage to step into whatever He’s calling you to do with them. And may God reveal things about both Him and you that you couldn’t have imagined earlier as you do so.
P.S./Addendum: Since for reasons I can’t really explain, this is by far the most-visited post on this blog, it’s probably worth pointing out that it’s adapted from a lesson in Season 3 in the Growing Out series, Growing in Your Gifts. So if your small group wants to explore their gifts in a lot more depth, go fetch.
And please check out the rest of the blog, too. There’s gotta be 100 better posts on here than this one, I swear. For that matter, there’s several more on the subject of spiritual gifts — just search on the tags “growing out” and “spiritual gifts” and have fun. 🙂