by Kevin Burton
In the old days at the school for the blind in Ohio, semester break meant Christmas, time off, and gifts.
Regular Page 7 readers know I am legally blind and have had longtime hobbies and vocations in the blindness field. So I know a thing or two about blindness.
Spiritual blindness is by far the worst kind. It blocks people from life-saving knowledge of the lost condition of their enteral soul and of the only solution, salvation through Jesus Christ.
That is the thought behind this Earthly School for the Spiritually Blind (ESSB). We are now at semester break.
Gifts were about all I thought about at Christmas in the old days. If a Christmas song mentioned the birth of Jesus, my mind didn’t linger there long.
But since this is a spiritual school, we’ll deal with spiritual gifts.
These gifts don’t include batteries. They include the leading of the Holy Spirit. God intends them to be gifts that keep on giving.
“A spiritual gift is something God has chosen specifically for you so that you can help with the advancement of the church on earth by serving and using your special ability,” explains the website www.tyndale.com.
Three lists of spiritual gifts are found in the Bible, in Romans 12: 6–8, 1 Cor. 12: 4-11 and 1 Cor. 28. Among the gifts listed are giving, discernment, faith, leadership, apostleship, knowledge, mercy, serving, teaching, administration, hospitality, prophecy, helps, healing, wisdom, exhortation and evangelism.
I will not define the gifts in this post. Nor will I deal with another controversial gift, speaking in tongues.
You need to prayerfully do that research on your own. Come on, study to show yourself approved, (2 Tim. 2:15).
Here, let’s concentrate on the importance of identifying and using these gifts.
Alistair Begg, speaker on the Truth For Life radio ministry, calls spiritual gifts “divine enablements for ministry, essential for the effectiveness of the church.” Until we identify and properly use their spiritual gifts, the church will always be “stultified and immature,” Begg said.
In not using your spiritual gifts, you disobey God and cheat the church, the website says.
“It must be insulting to God for us to demean some gift his Holy Spirit has instilled in our life by saying that it just isn’t important enough to use.”
“Every gift that God has placed in the body of Christ, the church, is important,” the website reads. “Some gifts such as preaching, teaching, and prophesying may seem more important than others such as hospitality or service. But God has given all of these gifts to build up his church. None of these gifts should be looked down upon.”
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all,”(1 Cor. 12:4-7, NKJV).
The Tyndale website also warns against allowing your gifts to become an idol.
“Some people get sidetracked with spiritual gifts and become more obsessed with the gifts than with Jesus,” the website reads. “This is a sign of spiritual immaturity.”
“Attaining spiritual gifts is not the goal. Gifts are the gateway. They are not a hobby to play with, they are tools to build with, weapons to fight with. We will be more effective as we put them to use for God’s glory and not our own.”
So how do we determine which gifts God has given us? Some possible answers:
If any of the gifts listed above resonate with you, that could be a starting point. The website suggests that Christian friends may see you better than you see yourself and could help identify which gifts fit you. Some churches have classes on spiritual gifts.
Most importantly, pray about it. Our great Gift Giver knows what is best for you and for His church. Ask Him.
“Once you determine which gift or gifts you have, start using them to glorify God,” the website reads. “By using your spiritual gifts to volunteer in a ministry or around your church, you are moving the Kingdom of God forward.”
Class notes, semester break (Christmas), Spiritual gifts: It is vital to determine which spiritual gifts God has given you and to start using them in your local church. All gifts are from God and are meant to make the church effective in spreading the gospel and equipping believers.
One for the spiritual road: If your favorite NFL team had a gifted punter who didn’t use that gift at all, or tried to be a linebacker, how well would that team function?