Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to be a gifted child? You’ve heard of the musical prodigy Mozart who composed symphonies as a boy, chess genius Bobby Fischer who became a grandmaster at age 14, and golfer Tiger Woods who entertained television audiences as a child. But you may not have heard of Priyanshi Somania who won the Mental Calculation World Cup last year at age 12, the only participant to score 100% in every category, adding 10 numbers of 10 digits each, multiplying 2 numbers of 8 digits each, and extracting square roots from 6-digit numbers in her head. Imagine the recognition you’d receive as child with gifts like these! What may surprise you is that 5% of all children are said to fall in this category—able to learn faster and perform at a higher level than others expressing great energy and creativity in the process. But it comes with a price. Many report feeling socially awkward and isolated, misunderstood by their peers and suffering depression and other disorders as a result.
There is another kind of giftedness, however, that has no downside to it. The Bible says if you’ve become a member of God’s family through faith in Jesus Christ, you too are a gifted child! For the moment you believed, the Spirit of God came into your life and gave you one or more spiritual abilities that no one outside His family enjoys. Let me explain by answering 3 questions about them.
1. What is a spiritual gift? The Apostle Paul uses two words to describe them in 1 Corinthians 12. In verse 4 he says, “There are different kinds of gifts.” The word is charismata from which we get the religious term, the Charismatic Movement, the movement which reminds us that every believer is a gifted saint. We may not all speak in tongues, but we are all charismatic Christians because we’ve all been given charismata – “gifts of grace.” Even clearer is his explanation in verse 7: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit has been given for the common good.” In other words, the way God’s Spirit makes His presence evident in our lives is by giving us one or more spiritual gifts with which we are to serve the family of God. For some it is preaching or teaching. For others it’s the ability to lead or encourage or help people in need. But we all have at least one gift, and who decides what it is? The Holy Spirit is the One who gifts us in the way He determines is best for serving in the body of Christ.
Often it helps to define something by saying what it’s not. In this case, a spiritual gift is not a natural talent. A natural talent is a capacity for development that we receive at our first birth like singing or competing in sports, which means you don’t have to be a believer to develop it. A spiritual gift, on the other hand, is a spiritual capacity for development that you receive at your second birth when you receive Christ as your Savior. In other words, the gift comes with the Giver, with the reception of the Holy Spirit when you’re born again. (Note: The Greek word for a birthday gift was charismata?) Why do we need to remember that a spiritual gift is not a natural talent? So we don’t assume that because we don’t have the talent, we don’t have the gift. I, for example, was a very poor writer and speaker as a boy. But then I met Christ and He gave me a new desire to write and speak and teach, an ability which has gradually improved over the years.
2. What is the purpose of spiritual gifts? Paul answered this in saying that “the manifestation of the Spirit has been given for the common good.” Gifts are given not for our own glory or enjoyment, but for the blessing and building up of the body of Christ. The story is told of a gifted organist who gave a concert in one of the great cathedrals of Europe. This was before electric organs when it was still necessary to pump air through the pipes. After the concert, the little boy who manned the bellows said to the organist, “We did a good job, didn’t we?” “We?” the organist replied. “What did you do?” Later, another concert was given, but this time in the middle of a powerful passage the organ began to fade. The organist immediately signaled for more wind. The lad at the bellows whispered, “For thee or for we?” “For we,” the organist grudgingly replied. There is only Star in God’s church – Jesus Christ! Therefore, to make sure He gets the glory and not we, the Holy Spirit spreads the gifts around, so that no person has them all. That way we’re forced to depend on one another.
3. How do I discover my gifts? Paul gives us 3 clues in 1 Corinthians 12. In verse 1 he says, “Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.” The first thing you need in order to discover your individual gifts is information. You need to know what the possibilities are. I hope you’ll return to read my next few posts because that’s what I’ll address next. The second clue is in verse 31 where he adds, “Eagerly desire the greater gifts.” The verb “desire” is in the plural. Literally it says, “All of you together eagerly desire the greater gifts.” In other words, it’s a group project, not something you do on your own. To discover what your gift is, you need confirmation from the rest of God’s family. Finally, verse 31 says, “And now I will show you the most excellent way.” What follows is the most beautiful description of love that has ever been written. The point is: If you want to discover your spiritual gift, the best way to do it is by serving others in the love of Jesus Christ. Soon you’ll notice a pattern emerging in the way the Holy Spirit uses you. That pattern is your spiritual gift.
Download the Audio Message by clicking here – You are a Gifted Child!