Different Gifts

By Scarlett Stough

Scripture makes clear the fact that God's gifts are given for service. Jesus came as a servant and those who choose to accept his invitation to follow him are also accepting the responsibility of service to others.

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for man.
Matthew 20:25-28

The Apostle Paul teaches us:

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.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Whatever gift or aptitude the Spirit gives each one, that gift is to be used for the common good. Anyone who begins to think his or her gift makes her special or spiritually superior will find herself in opposition to God (James 4:6-10). Our bodies, our gifts, are to be given as "living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship" (Romans 12:1).

Without the exercise of the greatest gift from God, love, the other gifts don't mean much:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Even if one's body cannot serve others in practical ways, love itself can be an encouragement and comfort to those around. If our bodies and minds are strong, we are asked to do good to others as we have means and opportunity (Galatians 6:9-10). Yet, heartfelt, believing prayers on behalf of others is just as much a service (James 5:13-18). If one is able to do more, God expects more (James 2:14-17).

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