1Corinthians 12:7 "The demonstration of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all."
Everyone knows that the real joy you feel inside is when you do something for someone else. Sure, itís great to have something done for you, or to get something youíve wanted. But that doesnít last. Iím speaking about the inner joy of the heart, where God can be seen supernaturally working though me.
Iím talking about personally engaging in what He is doing, where His character is seen in His children as we minister to one another in His name. And God has instituted the local church, and He has gifted me in areas of service, so I can not only meet the needs of others, but in the process of doing this I can experience the joy of His active working in my life. But what are those gifts He has given to people? There are six weíll look at here.
Gift #1: Prophecy = proclaiming Godís divinely inspired word. Has God gifted me to apply Godís Word to strengthen others in their faith and to confirm the truth of Godís word in situations requiring insight? We can see in Acts 15:32 how Judas and Silas had this gift: "ÖJudas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted the brethren with many words and strengthened them."
Gift #2: Teaching = presenting biblical truth in a way that establishes sound doctrine. Teachers: (1) combine the intellect, will and emotion; (2) avoid confusing people by presenting truth in a systematic, ordered manner. Jesus is our model of a teacher (over 40X He is called "teacher" or "Master", but never "preacher"). In Luke 24:25-27 is a perfect example: "ÖHe said to them, ĎO foolish ones and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?í And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."
Gift #3: Exhortation = the ability to comfort and encourage others toward righteousness and obedience.
If you have this gift: you are approachable and naturally reach out to others (you are a "people person").
You are gifted by God to come alongside of others, encouraging right decisions and bringing comfort.
Barnabas is our model in the Bible - Acts 4:36 calls him the "son of encouragement".
Gift #4: Giving = investing my resources in Godís missions for maximum return on the investment. 2Corinthians 8:8-9 explains that if you have this gift: you donít think of recognition or reward - youíre motivated by love and loyalty to the Lord: "I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the SINCERITY OF YOUR LOVE by the diligence of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich."
Gift #5: Administration = the ability to organize, administrate, manage, lead. Everyone is someoneís leader in some way, whether you are working in the Nursery with babies, on a team that greets visitors, or in the parking lot helping manage traffic flow. 1Corinthians 12:28 lists this as one of Godís gifts to people: "ÖGod has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues."
And last but certainly not least is Gift #6: Mercy = showing compassion and understanding to the needs and trials of others. If you have this gift, you know just the right thing to say or do in time of someoneís crisis or need. This is something everyone can use Ė we all deeply value people who exercise this gift.
So letís get to itÖ God wants to reveal Himself through you Ė and He has gifted you to do this. And if thereís one thing the world needs right now its Godís Spirit demonstrated to a needy world.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Leeís Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called "Faith: Substance and Evidence." He can be reached with your questions through the Leeís Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.