Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
So you’re gifted – at least that’s what they tell you. You’ve done some reading about spiritual gifts and seem to have a good grasp of the concept, at least as it applies to others. But unfortunately God doesn’t send out spiritual gift evaluations, so you are a bit unsure just what spiritual gifts you have or don’t have.
Learning about spiritual gifts is a good first step to using your gifts to their full potential. There are many fine books and web sites that offer insightful and practical information. This can be a good start, but it is only a start. You must practice using your gifts. That means functioning in the role God has assigned to you, doing what you are burdened to do and ministering as best you can in ways that are available to you. Even the most accomplished swimmer wasn’t world-class the first time he got into a pool.
One of the best ways to find out where you are gifted is through the feedback of others. What are you asked to do? For what reasons do people come to you? Where do you get positive reinforcement about your contribution? These are good ways of discovering how God is working through you. A spiritual gift is something you enjoy doing (have a desire/burden to do) and something you are able to do – maybe not as well as you’d like but certainly better than the average Christian.
Don’t limit what God is doing in you. God gives us a variety of spiritual gifts, a special “mix” that is unique to each of us. There are 3 basic colors but thousands of combinations can be made from them. That’s how it is with spiritual gifts. We each have a unique combination of gifts that blend with our personality and spiritual development. That makes each of us unique. Still, it can be good to try and find someone who has at least some of the gift mix you see in yourself and have that person mentor you. If it is a local person you can spend time with them. If it is someone in the Bible, church history or on the national scene today you can still study their life to see what you can learn to apply to your own growth. Remember that God will gift you, but He will also stretch you. My primary spiritual gift is teaching, but I’ve always been shy and uncomfortable speaking to groups of people. God didn’t make a mistake, He’s stretching me, just like He’s stretching you. The best advice I can give you as to how to develop your gift is to use it. Focus on it in your ministry. Be alert to opportunities to use it for God’s glory. Remember it is His gift for His glory. We use it for Him, not for ourselves.
1 Peter 4:10, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
Ephesians 4:11-13, “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 12, “Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant…. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
- If you were describe your gift mix, what spiritual gifts would you say you have? What is the balance between them (which is the main gift, which supplement other gifts, etc.)?
- What would your spouse or close friends say about the list you have written?
- What can you do to further develop the gifts god has given you?
- Is there any way you are holding back in using your gifts, any way you are resisting the way God is stretching you through using your gift? Ask the Lord for forgiveness and make yourself totally available to Him.
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on July 6, 2008