“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy…” 1 Corinthians 12
God gave each of us a gift that we may realize or be unaware of. Some children as young as four discover their gift. Some people die without ever knowing their gift.
For instance, a member of my family discovered her gift in her late 30’s. God gave her the wisdom and discernment required to help struggling Christians, spread the news of Jesus Christ, and somehow knowing when something is wrong with any of the six siblings.
Other gifts include bringing comfort to those in need, loyalty, prosecuting criminals, building infrastructure, being a peace maker, etc. The list is endless.
The main impediment to finding our gift is pride. Because we are human, many of us think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think (Romans 12:3) and others thinking more highly of us than they ought to think.
Because remaining sin still dwells in us, we find this old addictive pride still infects our view of ourselves and others when it comes to the gifts we receive from God. Rather than seeing our gifts as things we don’t at all deserve and seeing others’ gifts as merciful means of grace to us, we frequently battle discontentment. We often feel that we are not as gifted as we would like to be, that our gifts don’t receive enough recognition, or that we would prefer another set of gifts altogether.
But, we are not here to just consume oxygen. God has a special purpose for each of us. For instance, I cannot walk into a hospital without having a high level of discomfort. The smell even makes me nauseated. But, I am entirely comfortable in a courtroom.
I have found that most people would choose the hospital. That is what my mother and two sisters did. They have different gifts. I cannot imagine what would happen if everyone wanted to be a lawyer…
Our gifts can be a two-way channel of blessing if we will embrace it. God gifts all of us in such a way that our gifts channel blessings to others by meeting various needs. These blessings also channel the blessing of humility to us by exposing our pride and pushing us to receive God’s grace (Hebrews 11:6). When this happens it produces gratitude in everyone. Our gifts work to bless others and sanctify us.
This knowledge needs to land on us with appropriate weight. God wants us to know that our gifts are not an accident of genetics or experience. He knew what he was doing when he made each of us and he has intentionally given us these gifts.
So, we are stewards of the gifts God has entrusted to us. And he has entrusted them to us primarily for the benefit of others. Our gifts are not intended to be platforms where we try to gain our sense of significance from the esteem of men. Our real significance comes from God choosing us in Christ, gifting us, and deploying us in his kingdom for his purposes. There is more significance there than we can fully comprehend and appreciate.
We are on assignment from God. This is why Paul told the church in Corinth, “There is no higher calling for you than to be who God called you to be.”
God knows exactly what we’re made for and how we can live the life we’ve been given to the fullest and most fruitful. If we follow him by faith, he will lead us in the most ultimately fulfilling paths; even when those paths lead through suffering and death.
I am imperfect and make plenty of mistakes. Even so, I strive to live out my assignment. I have found that if we focus on four things, we can make progress in stewarding our gifts for the sake of others:
- Understand and be grateful that these gifts come from our Heavenly Father;
- Aspire to be the very best and most fruitful you that you can be for God’s glory;
- Don’t dishonor God by devaluing the gifts he’s given you; and
- Don’t waste valuable time grumbling about gifts you don’t have or resenting others for the gifts they do have, or even for the sinful pride they might exhibit.
There is no higher calling for us than to fulfill a duty handed down from God. He will reward us if we faithfully steward our gifts for others.