Discovering and Practicing Your Spiritual Gifts

Trennis and Pam's RV

Many believers seem to struggle to identify what their specific spiritual gifts are—or even what qualifies biblically as a spiritual gift.

A good starting point for any discussion of spiritual gifts is to review what Scripture says on the topic. Three primary passages in the New Testament that address spiritual gifts are Romans 12:6–8, 1 Corinthians 12:4–11, and 1 Peter 4:10–11. About 20 spiritual gifts are referenced in Scripture, with some overlap among the passages.
 

Practical Ministry Impact

When it comes to gifts that reflect practical ministry impact, Romans 12 includes such spiritual traits as serving, teaching, giving, encouragement, and mercy. Most all of us have been the beneficiaries of one another’s spiritual gifts, whether in the local church, missions organizations, family settings, or elsewhere.

In our travels across the nation during the past 18 months as WMU’s national correspondents, my wife, Pam, and I frequently have been ministered to by many gracious hosts who have lavished us with the gifts of serving, giving, encouragement, and mercy.

For starters, national WMU recruited dozens of generous donors who help provide financial assistance for our travel and other needs as we crisscross the US. Those gifts directly support our efforts to document first-person accounts of how God is using diverse WMU-related ministries to strengthen the work of His kingdom. We are eternally grateful to those who selflessly share their spiritual gift of giving to make this ministry partnership possible.

Others have practiced the gift of giving by providing us a convenient place to park our RV overnight (or for a few days), offering delicious home-cooked meals and Christian hospitality, or inviting us to use their washer and dryer for our laundry—a simple but incredibly thoughtful blessing when you’re on the road full time! The spiritual gifts of giving and serving go hand in hand through many of these expressions of kindness.

The gifts of encouragement and mercy also are major blessings to us as we make new acquaintances in new settings all along the way. It doesn’t take a huge effort to share a word of encouragement with fellow pilgrims on the road of life, but it does require a conscious decision to take the initiative to offer that smile, handshake, or word of affirmation to someone who may desperately need your gift of encouragement.
 

Put Your Gifts into Action

How can you determine which spiritual gifts you possess? Take time to study the Scripture passages that address spiritual gifts and ask God to reveal which gifts He has placed in your life. Review the list of gifts in the verses cited above and consider which gifts match up with activities that already bring you joy and energy in day-to-day life. Invite family members, close friends, your pastor, or other spiritual mentors to share their perceptions of what your spiritual gifts are. Make a point to practice various spiritual gifts and see what feels like a natural fit.

Remember it’s not a matter of seeking out the “best” gifts or compiling the most gifts. It’s a matter of discerning what gifts God has given you and faithfully sharing those gifts for the benefit of others. Regardless of which spiritual gifts God has entrusted to you, the most important step is to put your gifts into action.


By Trennis Henderson, WMU national correspondent

 

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