Hi friends. I have asked my beautiful friend Allison Hendrix to write on this topic. During my time under Regina and Titus 2 – it was so helpful to examine my spiritual gifts and learn to be OK with how God gifted me. And, to learn to celebrate and affirm the gifts of my friends. Use them to BUILD up the body of Christ. Enjoy!
by Allison Hendrix
My Bible study ladies and I were recently discussing how to bring refreshment to a group of exhausted women at our children’s school. They had been pouring countless hours into some fundraising events and looked completely spent.
“I know! Let’s each make ALL of the women a meal so that they can have dinners for the next 10 days,” suggested my girlfriend.
My mouth hung open as I did the math. Do I need to make 6 meals when I dread getting dinner for my own family on the table every night? I mean, it is a brilliant way to serve them because they have been away from their families for nights on end, and it would bless their husbands and children, but…
I listened as these precious ladies’ excitement escalated and they got each other going.
“I already know what I am going to make! This is going to be so much fun.”
“I just saw this recipe in Cooking Light over the weekend. I can’t wait to try it!”
“I’m going to make my grandmother’s casserole with homemade bread.”
I felt myself sinking into my chair. What’s wrong with me? Ironically, I was the one who helped name these ladies as needing refreshment so my heart was there, but Dear Jesus, there must be an easier way.
I had quietly fallen back on the idea of making 6 dozen cookies solely because it involved a giant bowl of cookie dough which did appeal to me, when a new plan arose,
“Why don’t we just have the ladies come to one of our homes next Thursday for ‘a meeting’ and we will surprise them with a morning of refreshment? We will each interpret that our own way.”
Oh yes! I am back in the game.
My friend with the gift of hospitality immediately offered her home. Everybody else chimed in.
The following Thursday was unforgettable. Every woman in our Bible Study used their special gifts and unique personality to offer rejuvenation to these recipients.
One woman played soft praise music on the piano creating a tranquil atmosphere.
Another had footbath stations set up along the couch where feet were massaged and toes painted.
Another brought 6 of the most charming baskets of freshly picked rosemary and vegetables from her garden.
There dozens upon dozens of meal on every counter in the house. There were notes of encouragement, flower bouquets, shoulder rubs, prayer time, and of course bags of chocolate.
As our tired friends sat down for this surprise brunch, we were overflowing with joy because we were each serving in accordance with our unique design. That is the outcome of using your spiritual gifts, it does not feel like work. We were fulfilled not drained.
A spiritual gift is a free gift that comes to you through the Holy Spirit upon salvation to meet the needs surrounding you. It comes from the word charismata meaning “grace, talent from God”. So we did not earn it. It is a gift meant to serve others with for the benefit of the body (Romans 12:6-8).
Beth Moore says, “Your spiritual gifts are means by which you have been distinctively and divinely equipped to manifest God’s presence and power.”
The beauty in discovering your spiritual gifts is it allows you to focus and stay in your lane. Your lane is that place where your personality, natural talents, and spiritual gifts come together; that place where you are most effective.
I was recently asked to convert a space into a medieval dining hall for a 4th grade celebration. Tremors came over me as I broke out in a sweat. That sounded like torture. I declined that ask for a different role sighing with great relief because I understood the stress of committing to something not in my lane. At the event, I thanked the precious mom who did decorate this venue in elaborate detail, and she said, “It was easy and fun.” It had taken weeks, if not months of preparation, and to her it was fun. Clearly her lane.
Our unique design shapes not only the lens with which we see a situation but how we respond to it. When we come together to serve as ONE body, needs are met on a myriad of levels. Our ladies group was invigorated because we caught a glimpse of the body of Christ working together.
It is a beautiful thing when we realize we are not in competition with one another and more effective as a whole.
So how can we discover our Spiritual Gifts:
1. Pray – Ask God to reveal them to you.
2. Pay Attention – What energizes you and makes you come alive? What comes easily for you that other’s find challenging? What are you effective at?
3. Listen – What feedback do you get from others, particularly those who know you well?
4. Take a Spiritual Gifts Test – It’s obviously not tried and true, but is a tangible exercise to help you narrow it down. Try this one from Lifeway.
Some of the gifts listed in the Bible are serving, teaching, giving, encouraging, mercy, organizing, prayer, wisdom, discernment, hospitality, leadership, administration, the list goes on. Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; and 1 Corinthians 12:28.
5. Start Serving – I heard Beth Moore once say that if you want to discover your spiritual gifts, to start serving and you will quickly learn what you are and are not effective at.
Once you’ve have an idea what your gifts might be, try them out. Use them. Practice and sharpen them. Not all teachers are flooded with ease and peace the first few times they teach. Then get feedback from those around you.
Finally, when we give a present to a child on their birthday, we desire for them to use it. Likewise, God gave us these spiritual gifts with the expectation that we will use them for the benefit of others.
You have an invaluable combination of personality, natural talent, and spiritual gifts.
You are one of a kind, created on purpose with purpose.
Enjoy being you.
Right Path Test – another source for identifing your gifts
Personality Plus – great books on your individual personality and for couples, for parents
What are Spiritual Gifts – great sermon on the purpose of gifts