I’ve always been a natural born teacher as well as a lifelong learner. When I learn something new I’m almost compelled to share it with someone else. I get so excited and feel that someone would love to know this too! It has always been easy for me to disseminate information so others understand it. No wonder I became a teacher. I would have to say that teaching is a “natural talent” of mine! Some people are natural born athletes or singers or writers or artists. Some of us are amazing communicators or are great and deep thinkers. You may have a gift with numbers and others may be able to write a novel. Everyone has an area in our lives that we shine!
These are called “natural” abilities. We are just naturally good at them! They seem to be a part of us. You could say we are born with them! While I can’t sing at all, I can speak to big crowds and for me, it’s like talking to my best friend! Only I have 300 best friends. I am very creative yet don’t give me the home finances because math is lost on me!
I am very creative yet don’t hand home finances over to me because math is lost on me! At this stage in my life I know what I am good at and what I have no talent for. I know I can make almost anything look pretty and I also know I’ll never sing O, HOLY NIGHT in a church Christmas cantata no matter how hard I practice.
Do you know your natural gifts? We all have them because God has wired all of us with things we excel in. It’s part of our job in life to know and cultivate them. Ultimately, using our natural giftedness to glorify God is the best use of our natural giftings. These natural abilities also bring joy and richness to our lives!
There is another kind of giftedness we all have. It’s “learned ability”. Often times these learned abilities overlap with our natural abilities. Learned abilities are things we are good at because we have studied, either formally or informally.
I am a pretty good photographer but it’s taken years and years to be able to take a great picture! Just look at the first couple years of my blog and you can see that creating beautiful photos was definitely a learned ability. Helped by my artistic eye and creativity, the more I read about taking gorgeous pictures and practicing the better and better I got.
I could probably learn to be good at math (never great) if I took math classes and did lots of work, but because math is not a natural gift it would not be an easy road! I could probably learn to sing too, but I can’t even imagine who would want to teach me!
Even learned abilities are a gift from God.
There is another kind of gifted ability some of us have that is not natural or learned. These are spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts differ from natural or learned gifts because they are given to us at the point of our conversion. When we accept Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior we are giving at least one amazing gift!
Because we are born again I like to think of these as a birthday gift, of sorts! Everyone gets at least one. EVERYONE!
Do you know your spiritual gift(s)? And just as importantly… are you using them.
Our spiritual gifts can often overlap with our natural and learned giftedness. But then they may be totally different from other abilities we have.
Like I said earlier, I am a naturally born and learned teacher. I was born with this innate ability to teach. I also went to college and beyond to hone my skill.
When I accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ I was given the “gift” of teaching. Did I know it right away? No. But the more I studied God’s word the more compelled I was to teach it. It was not long before God put me in a position to use my spiritual gift.
I could see God working powerfully in my life and through my life to use the gift of teaching. Far above and beyond my natural gifting.
One drawback of my natural inclination to teach is my memory. I have a horrid memory. Always have! I may be a naturally born teacher, but I’m also a naturally born forgetter! My memory could be a real stumbling block to teaching! But when I teach God’s word I have an excellent memory. I retain almost all of what I study in God’s word. And I retain it for years! God has enabled my horrid memory to retain and remember what I learn! And I have the ability to recall concepts and Scripture when I need them.
Believe me… THIS IS NOT ME! IT’S GOD!
You are no different than I am. If you are a child of God you too have at least one pretty amazing gift! It’s our job to find those gifts and use them.
When my son was a little boy he so wanted to have the gifts of tongues because he thought it would be cool (Now, I’m not going to get into the discussion if tongues are still given and in use in the church today). He decided for himself that that was his gift. And he waited for it to come. But it never did. Here’s the thing… we don’t pick our spiritual gifts, God chooses them for us.
He gives them liberally and it is our responsibility to find these special gifts in our lives. Just think what the church would look like if every Christian would know their spiritual gifts and be actively using them. We would be an amazing force in this dark world for good!
There are three references in the bible that show us spiritual gifts God bestows on believers…
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
- Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
- word of knowledge
- miraculous powers
- distinguishing between spirits
- speaking in tongues
- interpretation of tongues
1 Corinthians 12:28
And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.
- diversity of tongues
Our spiritual gifts are to be used to GLORIFY GOD and to EDIFY THE CHURCH. God says nothing about our needs or how they are to benefit us except in the context of the church at large. They are gifts we are to use in the most amazing, eternal ways! These holy, God-given gifts manifest the Holy Spirit and His power in the church.
Can you imagine what the body of Christ would look like if we all used our spiritual gifts? This is not biblical, but I think there would be no lacking in our churches! And the outside world would be knocking down the doors of our church buildings to get in!
Finding and using our spiritual gifts is of such GREAT IMPORTANCE. We, believers in Jesus, are accountable for them. God expects us to be using them.
If you belong to a church it is important to talk to your leaders and have them come along side of you to prayerfully and humbly seek your spiritual gifts. And once we have found a gift or two or even more we need to use them!
Why is finding and using our gifts so so important? Because they are like being given an extravagant, great treasure! If we never know what our spiritual gifts are it is like never opening the treasure. All that wealth for naught!
If we don’t use our spiritual gifts it is like squandering this extravagant, great treasure!
If we are a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ we have been given natural, learned and spiritual gifts. Treasures beyond measure, for sure! Let’s liberally use them! Glorify God with them! Edify others! And in doing so we and others will be richly blessed!
This week’s memorization verse:
NEVER BE LAZY BUT WORK AND SERVE THE LORD, ENTHUSIASTICALLY. Romans 12:11 (New Living Bible Translation)