Diversities of Gifts

by Scarlett Stough

 

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all (I Corinthians 12:4-6 KJV.)

Unity was the topic in the June 2011 issue of Women in Christ. Diversity is the topic of the July issue continuing through the next two months: Diversities of Gifts, charisma in the Greek; Differences of Administrations, diakonia in Greek; and Diversities of Operations, energma in Greek. These Greek words have migrated into the English language in such words as charismatic, deacon, and energy and are closely related to the originals in meaning. This issue will begin with charisma, gifts.

Because we Christians worship the same God, believe and obey the same Lord Jesus and follow the lead of the same Holy Spirit, we can be unified in our purpose of doing the will of God even though we may differ in many areas of doctrinal beliefs and practices. God has distributed gifts to enable us to do the jobs he gives us to do.

We are born with certain aptitudes, and even weaknesses the researchers tell us, built into our DNA. Our experiences can turn those aptitudes into skills or hinder the development of them. When we are “born from above” or “born again” or converted through receiving the Spirit of God, we are each given a job to do and the power with which to do it. But as with our human aptitudes, we do have to practice to develop those aptitudes and work to get the job done.

There are exceptions such as children who figure out quickly how to play an instrument and create and make music without training. Some people have also been given spiritual gifts that become immediately effective, such as Moses parting the Red Sea or Peter telling the paralyzed man to get up and walk. No question but that God was the power doing the work. But most of us have to study and practice and develop the ability to do whatever job God gives us to do. We often wonder if we are doing what God wants us to do with our Christian lives or if we are just drifting.

Whether our interests, abilities and opportunities are natural, genetic, or given at a later time through the Spirit, we have an obligation to our heavenly Father to work for the common good according to his will with whatever assets available to us. Taking the road of least resistance is not an option (Matthew 25:24-30.) Even the excuse that we are inadequate to the task is not an acceptable excuse for turning down God’s call to serve him and others (Exodus 3:4-4:17.)

Doing what we can do is more important than knowing for certain what our gifts and assignments are. God is perfectly capable of guiding us even when we are unaware of it. God said he gave gifts to his church and each member of it. We can believe it and rely on it.

Some of those gifts are listed in I Corinthians 12 and in Ephesians 4; others are mentioned in other passages in the New Testament. We will be looking at these gifts through various scriptures to find out what they are, what their purpose is, and to encourage us to seek God’s power, boldness, and guidance to use the gifts he gave for the common good.

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: Spiritual Gifts.


Volume 10 Issue 6 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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