Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What Gifts Do You Have?

I have been working on a study of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of the study is in preparation for a series of sermons that I will be presenting in November. But I have been struck by something that I have never noticed before.

There are lists of spiritual gifts throughout the New Testament. You can find gifts in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4. But inevitably, when the conversation turns toward spiritual gifts there are two or three that dominate. We spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the validity, purpose and use of tongues, prophecy and healing, while virtually ignoring some other gifts.

Before I turn to the three gifts that I want to focus on, let me make some general statements about them.

First of all, although these gifts are less glamorous and obvious than some others, they are more important in the context of the daily life of the Christian and the edifying of the Christian community. Secondly, not only are these gifts more important, they are more widely granted and used than any other gifts. Third, we should look for those individuals who have these gifts and lift them up as examples of the work of God's Spirit in our midst. And finally, these gifts, which are often neglected, or at least taken for granted, should be the most highly sought after and coveted gifts of all.
  • Hospitality. There is a great need in the world to care for and be kind to others. There are more people in the Christian world who are exercising this gift than we will ever know. We should encourage those people in the exercise of their gift.
  • Encouragement. Being a Christian can be one of the most depressing things that you will ever have to do. There are those who disbelieve, who ridicule and oppose you at every turn. Take advantage of the gift of encouragement that some people have in the body of Christ. Allow them to build you up.
  • Faith. In a desire to obtain the dramatic gifts, we often overlook the truth that faith is foundational for all of them. Every person has been given faith by God. Now you and I need to express to him our desire for more faith and to use the faith that we have.

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