Summary: We are all members of the body of Christ. All of us have different gifts, but together we can carry on the ministry of Jesus while He walked on earth. God knew we could not do it on our own strength, so He gave us the Holy Spirit.

Gifted Athlete – Steve Prefontaine

Have you ever been around gifted people? Gifted musicians, athletes, or artists are just amazing people.

In 1970, I was a senior in high school and I ran a cross country race which was about 3 ½ miles. One of the people I ran against in a little town called Coos Bay, Oregon, was a guy named Steve Prefontaine. Now Steve was my height, but he ran the 3 ½ mile like he was sprinting. When the gun went off at the start of the race, Steve took off like he was running a 100 yard dash.

I laughed to myself, thinking, “Look at him. He is going to die!” Well, Steve ran that pace the whole 3 ½ miles. When I finally crossed the finish line, he already had his sweats on and was sitting on a lawn chair, drinking lemonade!

Steve went to the University of Oregon where he won every meet he entered. His coach, Bill Bowerman, wanted to get him some new shoes because the metal spikes hurt him so much. So Bill began experimenting with rubber spikes. He put a rubber sole he had vulcanized on his wife’s waffle machine on one of his first pairs of shoes. The only problem was the glue would last for only one race, so he had to re-glue the shoes for every race. He kept working on the shoe, but sadly, Steve Prefontaine was killed in a car crash before Bill Bowerman completed the perfect shoe.

Phil Knight joined coach Bill Bowerman to make shoes for runners. Today, Nike has topped ten billion dollars in sales annually. I wish I had invested in a few stocks in Nike back then. This multinational, multibillion dollar company was inspired by a very gifted young athlete named Steve Prefontaine.

Heaven’s Prodigies

As Steve Prefontaine had this gift of running, God has allowed every single one of us to be His prodigies by giving each of us gifts, but we need to discover and develop them. Gifted athletes and child prodigies practice and apply their gifts. In the same way we will have to practice. We will have to apply.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons” (1 Cor 12:4-6 NASB).

There are three types of gifts: effects or manifestations gifts, ministry or office gifts, and grace gifts.


Manifestation Gifts

The Greek word energema for energy, effects, or manifestations originally described this variety of gifts. There are nine of these gifts: tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, discernment of spirits, faith, miracles and healing. These are the energies of the Holy Spirit, or manifestation gifts, or effects of the Holy Spirit working through us. When we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, He gives us the ability to practice using these gifts.

Everything Jesus did on earth, He did as a man filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.1 If Jesus was still among us physically, He would still be operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He would speak prophetic and directive words. He would bring healing, miracles, and wholeness. He would have words of wisdom, words of knowledge and insight.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave us the Holy Spirit, so we would carry on His ministry. God never intended for His ministry to stop when He ascended into heaven. He wanted His ministry to continue through the body of Christ.

We are all members of the body of Christ. All of us have different gifts, but together we can carry on the ministry of Jesus while He walked on earth. God knew we could not do it on our own strength, so He gave us the Holy Spirit.

These manifestation gifts are divided into three categories: gifts of what Jesus would say; gifts of what Jesus would think; and gifts of what Jesus would do.

The gifts of tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy are what Jesus would say if He was still here physically. The gifts of discernment of spirits, word of wisdom, and word of knowledge are what Jesus would think if He was here physically. Faith, miracles, and healing are what Jesus would do if He was still among us in the flesh.

Because He ascended to heaven, He sent us the Holy Spirit to give us all of the gifts which enable us to say what Jesus would say; to think what Jesus would think; and to do what Jesus would do. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is the Holy Spirit who helps us think, say, and do as Jesus would.

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