Have you ever stumbled across an amazing treasure in your grandmother’s attic? Last week Alexander Kettler, a 10-year-old German boy, was playing in his grandmother’s home when he found something very unusual—a sarcophagus with a mummy inside. Also found were an Egyptian death mask and a Canopic Jar. His family says they have no clue how the items got there. The surprise finding brought authorities in to investigate.
God has given every believer a treasure more valuable than ancient antiques. It’s a gift many have never discovered. Here are six important lessons from the Bible about spiritual gifts.
1. Every Christian has been given at least one spiritual gift.
The Bible says, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). If you have given your life to Jesus, you are promised special abilities to help spread the gospel. Finding and using your talents is a responsibility outlined in Jesus’ parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14–30.
2. Gifts are intended to build up the body of Christ.
The purpose of your unique talents are to strengthen God’s church. The apostle Paul taught about gifts in his letter to the church in Corinth. He says, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” (v. 7). Everyone benefits when you properly use your gifts. While you may use them in the marketplace, you cannot neglect them in the church.
3. We do not choose our gifts.
While we certainly should desire and pray for expanded abilities, the Holy Spirit gives us our gifts. We cannot simply purchase them online. Notice, “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit” (v. 8). The Holy Spirit distributes gifts, not the pastor or a committee.
4. It dishonors God when you deny your gift.
When comparing the church to a human body, he explains, “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body?” (v. 15). The answer is, of course it’s still part of the body! It’s one thing to be humble about your gifts; it’s another to reject your gifts from God.
5. It dishonors God when you exalt your gift.
Paul also warns, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’” (v. 21). He explains, “No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary” (v. 22). The fact a body is made up of many different parts is what makes it a body. So if you feel you cannot stand up and preach a sermon, you are still gifted and God has a special place for you somewhere.
6. Gifts are useless if they are not used in love.
One of the most sobering statements made about spiritual gifts is found in 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter. While we hear these verses often spoken at weddings, they really focus on people’s gifts. Basically, Paul says, if you use your gifts without love, they have no value. They only make a bunch of useless noise (v. 1).
You can find lists of gifts in three major passages of the Bible (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4). There are hints in other places in Scripture as well.
Don’t be like Alexander and simply stumble on your treasures. Purposely pray, study, and ask God to reveal to you the special gifts He has placed within your life. Then use them to build up God’s kingdom!