Each Gifted Differently

Each Gifted Differently

The second step to getting off of “spiritual welfare” is to understand how God has gifted you.  In 1 Peter 4:10-11 we read, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  In this text we see that each Christian is gifted differently.  Peter says that we should be “good stewards of God’s varied grace.”  The Greek word under our English word “varied” literally means “many colored” and comes from secular terminology referring to the varied colors of precious stones found in natural rock formations. 
 
If you visit your local home improvement store you are likely to find an area devoted to kitchen counter tops where they will have samples of all kinds and colors of granite counters.  There are many different colors of granite [depending upon the location it is mined from and the mineral ratio in the soil] and because granite is a natural material there are no two pieces that are exactly the same.  This is exactly what Peter is saying when he employs this word.  Although you might be gifted similar to other people in your church, you did not come off the “spiritual gift assembly line” where you were fitted exactly like the people next to you.  For instance, those with gifts of speech are gifted differently: some preach with God given passion, others teach with God given insight, others facilitate discussions with God given flexibility, while still others engage one-on-one with God given discernment.  In the church we need people gifted with each of these “gifts of speech” and many times those strong in one of the above areas can be weak in the others.  This means, at least, that there are some people you can reach and minister to better than others who have the same type of gift from God because of the unique way God’s varied grace is manifest in your life.  See, if you are living on spiritual welfare, you are withholding from some people a provision God has made for them by the unique manner in which He has gifted you.
 
How has God gifted you?
In this text Peter does not give a long list of spiritual gifts as the apostle Paul does elsewhere.  Instead, in verse 11 Peter gives us two broad categories of gifting that he classifies as speaking gifts and serving gifts.  Speaking gifts include gifts of teaching, preaching, exhortation, or prophecy while serving gifts include gifts of helps, service, mercy, or administration.  Every gift listed in the New Testament falls under one of these two heads: gifts of speech or gifts of service.  So to say that “each has received” a gift is to say that each person has been gifted by God in some way, shape, or form to speak or serve.  But how do you know how God has gifted you?
  
1.  Assessments

A good starting place to determine how God has gifted you is with a spiritual gift assessment.  There are plenty of free online assessments to choose from.  You can find assessments here and here.  The assessments are a good starting line but they should never be the finish line in determining how God has gifted you for two reasons.  First, assessments are not and never will be fool proof and 100% accurate.  You might respond to similar questions differently in different assessments based on the way questions are worded.  In addition, it is pretty easy to determine which questions relate to which gifts and to answer those questions that relate to the gifts you want to have in a way that would “force” the computer to tell you that you are gifted in that capacity. So start with the assessments but don’t end there.

2.  Affirmations

After you get a ballpark idea of how God has gifted you in an assessment begin to take steps toward using those gifts you’ve received in some capacity and see if people affirm that area of giftedness in operation.  For instance, if you believe that you have received the gift of administration then look for an opportunity to help organize a project, initiative, or small group.  As you step into the work of organizing listen for other Christians you respect to affirm you in the exercising of that gift.  If you believe that you have received the gift of teaching then look for an opportunity to facilitate a men’s or women’s group or teach in your small group.  As you step into the work of studying and presenting the Scriptures listen for other Christians you respect to affirm you in the exercising of that gift.  If you are receiving no affirmation from others Christians as you step into those areas you believe God has gifted you in it could be that you are not gifted to do what you are trying to step into.

3.  Affections

One additional way to determine how God has gifted you is to pay attention to your affections…those things that stir your heart and move your soul.  For instance, if when people talk about caring for the poor or serving unwed mothers it stirs something in you, you might have the gift of mercy.  If when people talk about how to best manage people and resources in an organization it stirs something in you, you might have the gift of administration.  If when people talk about how to strategically address a particular issue in the church, in your business, or in your city it stirs something in you, you might have the gift of leadership.  If when people question or inquire into the particulars of Scripture or you hear a sermon on “rightly dividing the word of truth” it stirs something in you, you might be gifted to preach or teach.  If when people talk about new initiatives that will require additional finances it stirs something in you, you might have the gift of giving.  If when people talk about tangible needs they or someone they know have it stirs something in you, you might have the gifts of helps or service.  Pay attention to those things that stir your heart and move your soul because they may be prime indicators of how God has gifted you.

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