Summary: What steps can we take to identify our spiritual gifts?
Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches
August 10, 2003
“Identifying Gifts--Where Do I Begin?”
INTRODUCTION: Story: A college student who had always lived in the city was visiting a ranch in Texas. She was fascinated by all the animals. She had never seen so many before so it wasn’t unusual when she blurted out, “What an unusual looking cow. Why doesn’t she have any horns?”
The rancher explained, “Well, some cows are born without horns and never have any. Others shed theirs, and some we dehorn. And some breeds aren’t supposed to have any horns at all. But the reason this cow hasn’t got any horns is because she ain’t no cow--she’s a horse.”(source unknown)
Identifying Spiritual Gifts--Where Do I Begin? Sometimes we have difficulty recognizing our spiritual gifts and don’t even know where to begin. We may conclude that we don’t have any and are not going to get any. We waste years thinking that we are not chosen to receive gifts or that we are not spiritual enough or any number of other erroneous ideas we have picked up over the years. All the while we are not as effective as we could be in the body of Christ. Let’s see how today’s scripture will help us in identifying our gifts.
1. Having the Gifts: We might say, “If I HAVE gifts where are they? How do I find them? How will I recognize a gift when I see it? In both of today’s scripture we find reference to [already] having gifts--not receiving at some time in the future. If we are a believer then the Holy Spirit has given us one or more gifts for the purpose of use in the body of Christ. We just don’t recognize it yet. Their purpose is for the common good of all--to bring maturity and completeness to the body of Christ.
Romans 12:6 Amplified Bible says, “having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them.”
The NLT says, “God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.”
The KJV says, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us...”
The NIV says, “We have different gifts.”
Our scripture in I Peter 4:10 NIV says, “each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.”
The KJV says “As every [person] hath received the gift...”
The NLT “God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts.”
The Amplified “as each of you has received a gift (a spiritual talent, a gracious divine empowerment) employ it for one another as good trustees of God’s many sided grace...”
The Message Bible says, “Be generous with the different things God gave you...”
We have been given the green light to go ahead and look for our gifts and here are some ways we can do this:
2. Ways to Identify Gifts: We are impatient people. We want to find out instantly. With the things of God, usually things don’t happen at the touch of a “send” button like e.mail.
Someone once said, “Life is hard--try reading the instructions.”
1. Prayer and Study: The Lord will lead you to an identification of your gifts if you allow Him to guide you and direct you through searching the scriptures and through prayer. Proverbs 3:5, 6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Pray and then spend time studying what God has already said on the matter in the Bible--read the instructions. Study the lives of Bible characters. You might identify with some more than others. You might say, “that sounds like me. That’s sounds like my gift too.”
2. Exposure to Various Ministries: Most of us think that when we volunteer to do a job we are signing a lifetime contract--sometimes we are afraid we will be “stuck” for years in something we hate to do. There are lots of short term things you can do. Volunteer for a variety of short term things such as helping out on a committee, helping someone teach a class. You might find out it is absolutely not for you. If so, try something different. It is a way of “job shadowing” where you can have an exposure to various ministries.
STORY: A new homeowner wanted to landscape his new house and he went to the nursery and picked out some trees, shrubs, and flowers. While most of the plants did really well, some turned brown and died out. The homeowner went back to the nursery and bought more plants. After awhile they died out too. Chatting with his neighbor one day he said, “I can’t understand why these plants won’t grow.”