Summary: Whatever the spiritual realm is, it bestows on people a range of accomplishment abilities that go beyond mere skill or knack. A gift of the Spirit is something that God gives for the purpose of building up others in a life of faith.
Opening illustration: Living Unaware of Our Vast Fortune Come with me into West Texas during the Depression. Mr. Ira Yates was like many other ranchers and farmers. He had a lot of land, and a lot of debt. Mr. Yates wasn’t able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his ranch. With little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) had to live on a government subsidy. Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling West Texas hills, he was no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills. Then a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he signed a lease contract. At 1,115 feet they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day. And Mr. Yates owned it all. The day he purchased the land he had received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he’d been living on relief. A multimillionaire living in poverty. The problem? He didn’t know the oil was there even though he owned it. It is fair to say that you and I are a lot like Mr. Yates at times. We are heirs of a vast treasure and yet we live in spiritual poverty. We are entitled to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and his energizing power, and yet we live unaware of our birthright. We gather today to remember how rich we are.
Let us turn to Romans 12 and see what these motivational gifts are and whether some us are sitting on them without knowing that we posses them. Let us learn from God’s Word as to how we can operate them.
Introduction: Whatever the spiritual realm is, it bestows on people a range of accomplishment abilities that go beyond mere skill or knack. The term ’spiritual gifts’ itself does not say who gave them, or even whether anyone did. While the term is useful, and is good shorthand for more complicated definitions, Christians much prefer to use the term "gifts of the Holy Spirit", as thanks to the One who gives the gifts, and as a way to give credit where credit is due.
Spiritual gifts do not depend on natural talents and aptitudes or developed skills, though God gave you those, too. A gift of the Spirit is something that God gives for the purpose of building up others in a life of faith. It is the experience of Christians over the years that the spirit usually harnesses one’s talents in the service of the purpose for which the gifts were given. Yet sometimes, the spiritual gifts seem to work against a person’s natural endowment. This is, after all, the same God who led his people out of Egypt using a stammerer named Moses, made a shepherd boy/musician named David into a renowned warrior and king, and turned rural fishermen into leaders who left a mark on the course of history.