PDF of Study Guide available HERE
Everyone has been given gifts with the anticipation that those gifts will be used to benefit the Kingdom. If we respect each other, we will learn to make room for each other’s unique talents. There is room for all of us in the body of Christ as we learn to use our gifts for Jesus’ sake.
The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, theorizes that 80% of outcomes are derived from 20% of causes. It has been applied to everything, land, politics, production, business, and church.
A Church is a Body, not a business. At least, that is how the New Testament envisions it. How much of your body would you like to be functional? If only 20% of your body is functional, you are likely dead or dying. News flash! Jesus’ body isn’t sick. Not possible. So, let’s get in the game. Let’s discover our gifts and use them. All of us have a role, a sphere of influence, and a ministry in God’s Kingdom. In short, You have gifts and you have the power to use them.
Romans 12:3-5 (NLT) Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
You Are Something Special
An Honest Evaluation. There is no room here for false pride or false humility. False pride believes that God isn’t all that necessary. False humility doesn’t believe that God is good or strong enough to help. An honest evaluation considers that God is good and strong enough to accomplish His promises.
You Have Influence. You have a measure of influence and authority that exists within a time and a space. Your influence is effective among people that honor and receive you and your gifts. For example, I am a pastor at Ordinary Faith. The church I pastor receives me and that allows the grace God has given to me to flow to them. But, I am not the pastor of other churches. The same is true for your gifts. God has given you a place and a time to use your gift AMONG a people. You are uniquely gifted, among a people, within a season.
Romans 12:6-8 (NLT)6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
With a Unique Gift Set
Discover Your Gifts by Trial and Error, On-the-Job Training, and Risk. I don’t think there is an exhaustive or complete list of gifts that can be given. We have an assessment for 22 gifts, but I think there are so many more. The thing you need to understand is that you ARE gifted. No one is giftless. You have been saved, redeemed, restored, and placed in the body.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
But, to discover your gifts, you need to step out in faith. You will have to take some risks. You have a purpose. There is no one like you. There are things that you are meant to do. You aren’t waiting on anyone. You don’t need anyone else to do anything. You are able to step into your gifts and your purpose. Listen to this scripture:
2 Thessalonians 1:11 (NLT) So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.
God prompts, burdens, calls, encourages, and prepares. You aren’t waiting on anyone. Your’s may be a business, a nonprofit, a parachurch, or a missionary endeavor. It may be a family, a career, a journey, or something else. There are likely steps to take, but there is no reason to wait for anyone else. Here is how it works. You take steps and God opens doors. One day you will realize it has been a wonderful journey to a wonderful place. That’s how you discover your gifts. You start stepping into the things your faith prompts.
What About the Gifts Mentioned in the Bible? I do like the idea of Motivation, Manifestation, and Ministry Gifts. But that could be because it was the first way I was taught the gifts. Over the years I have learned that the spiritual boundaries seldom fit within the intellectual boundaries we set. So, I believe we likely have a fundamental gift that motivates us. I can also see that gifts could manifest in different ways for different needs. And, I often see that ministry gifts develop or fade as we serve and respond to God’s call. The point is that God will call, equip, and gift you according to His purpose for you.
You Don’t Just Have a Gift. You have a cluster of gifts. If you take the time for a survey, which is a start, you will find that you have several things that you are strong in. A good way to start is to look at your top six or so and start asking questions. How have these gifts been used in my life? How do I use them now?
Likely your successes or challenges in life are because of your gifts. Another question to ask is, “What is my faith prompting me to do?” Or, you may have received encouragement from someone regarding your gifts, take that into account. Then get to making mistakes. Make lots of mistakes, be humble, and apologize often. That’s how you will find your way.
You Are Part Of A Body
Your Gift Works With The Gifts Of Others. We need each other. Every faith community is a unique mix of gifts. Just as the human body lives and thrives in a state of tension, it is the same for a church. The prophetic and the merciful, the servant and the leader, the healers and the organizers, the languages and the teachers, all work together. Yes, there is tension, but that is how we accomplish the purposes of Jesus.