Some people just seem to be born with certain talents, abilities, and characteristics. My grandmother was one of those people. She had incredible artistic ability. God is often given the credit as the source of such traits. The late Hall of Fame baseball player Willie Stargell once said, “Baseball for me was instinctive, born within me, given to me as a gift from God.” While not everybody can draw or paint as well as others, or even play a certain sport at the same level as a professional athlete, each of us possesses a certain God-given gift. Such abilities are most importantly utilized in the church. Because we have these gifts, God wants us to use them as members of Christ’s body.
Paul wrote to the church in Rome explaining this very concept. He compared the body of the church, individual members existing in one body, to our human bodies, and how they too have different parts meant for different functions (12:4-5). We each have certain “gifts that differ according to the grace given to us” (12:6a). Listed next, while not exhaustive, are seven of those gifts that God has given to His children (12:6b-8).
First is prophecy. Some have the ability to speak God’s word in a unique way. Second is service or ministry. Certain Christians just seem to have that “servant” mindset that Jesus encourages us all to have. Third is teaching. Being able to teach well so that others can effectively learn is definitely a valuable gift needed in the church. Fourth is exhortation. There are those who can encourage and motivate others to do that which is needed better than others. Fifth is giving generously. This could be monetarily and materialistically, but also in giving their time. Sixth is leading in diligence or earnestness. The Lord’s church will always need those who work hard in leading the flock. Seventh and final is the gift of showing mercy with cheerfulness. Never lacking are those who are hurting physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Some more than others seem to mercifully express their empathy; however, it should be done cheerfully.
God has given each person a gift that can be used in the development of Christ’s body. While we may seemingly possess one gift over another, we can always strive to develop those which may not come naturally. What is your gift?