By Jerry Price
Retired Pastor, Spring Hill
Focal Passage: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
“A modern army is fitted with a strategic mix of various weapons to maximize its effectiveness in fulfilling its purpose. Some soldiers receive a rifle and some are given pistols or ride in a tank armed with a cannon and machine guns. Others operate missiles, jet fighters, bombers or ships. To win the war, it takes the unified effects of all these weapons, operated by the shared efforts of all the variously equipped soldiers.
“God, as the wise Commander-in-Chief in our spiritual warfare, has likewise given to each of His children in the body of Christ spiritual gifts so that they can work together to be effective in fulfilling His will. And, as in a physical war, if Christian “soldiers” work together and use their gifts, the task of the church on earth will be accomplished.”
Several years ago, I came across a set of materials designed to help people discover their spiritual gifts (service gifts only) and how to use them (see https://churchgrowth.org).
I ordered them and began to study them for my own benefit and then for the benefit of the members of our church. Having concluded earlier that God gifts every one of us for the tasks He calls us to, I further concluded that one of the greatest disservices in the church is the failure to help believers discover and use their gifts for the benefit of the body and service to the world around us.
I soon began to use this material in discipleship classes. After having administered the inventory to the individuals in the class, I scored them and then returned them to the class members. We focused on the top two or three gifts each person had (I call them a gift-mix). A gift-mix of a person’s top two or three gifts will often point to one or two areas of service to focus on.
I sincerely believe Paul knew exactly what he had been gifted to do. That is why he said, “… one thing I do” (Philippians 3:13) — not these many things I dabble at.
One lady in the class scored high in evangelism and hospitality. She came to me and said she could not do door-to-door evangelism (she was somewhat on the shy side). She wanted to witness to one of her neighbors but didn’t feel she could use a confrontational approach.
I asked her a question I already knew the answer to. I asked, “Can you bake a cake?” She replied that I knew she could. So I said, “Bake a cake and make a pot of coffee. Then invite your neighbor over and after spending some fellowship time together, ask about her relationship to the Lord.” Her face lit up with the realization that she could accomplish the mission after all.
I can tell you from my own experience and that of others that the discovery and knowledge of our spiritual gifts and how to use them is one of the most liberating experiences in the Christian life. Knowing my spiritual gifts allows me to focus on what God has called me to do and to be able to say “No!” to those things that are outside of my gift-mix.
We all should be wary of assuming that everyone must have the same gift(s) we do. It is God who decides who gets what gift(s) and He bestows them as He wills.
It is then the church’s responsibility, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to place people in areas of service where their gifts can be used effectively to grow the church both in maturity and membership. B&R — Price, a retired pastor and denominational worker, is a member of First Baptist Church, Spring Hill.