Scripture: “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:6-8 [ESV])
After reading our Scripture passage today, you might think that gifts of the Spirit are comparable to one’s personal talent or skills. But the truth of the matter is that the gifts of the Spirit are in a class of their own. They are unique. They are distinguishable within the body of Christ and serve specific purposes.
How is this you may wonder?
First, we must realize that they are given to us by God the Father when we come unto salvation in Jesus Christ. Hence the word “gift.” We are not physically born with the gifts of the Spirit. They are spiritually given to us upon our salvation in Christ. As well, the gifts of the Spirit are not something that is achieved or earned. Each person who comes unto faith in Christ is given spiritual gifts at conversion.
Spiritual gifts are given by God the Father upon our salvation in Christ Jesus.
Additionally, the gifts of the Spirit function quite differently than a personal talent. Let me illustrate for a moment. Let’s say someone is talented at golf. After years of playing as a child prodigy, they go on to win professional tournaments in their young adulthood. They make a hefty income from the game and receive ample media coverage and fame for their talent with a club. They are the primary benefactor of their talent.
But the gifts of the Spirit are not intended to function like a personal talent in this way at all. Romans 12:3-5 states “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think of, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body, we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
While the gifts of the Spirit are distinguishable in the people of God’s church they are not meant to promote or puff up the person. The purpose of the gifts is not self-promoting at all. Unlike a personal talent or skill, the gifts of the Spirit are other-focused and other promoting. Additionally, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 states, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is to edify the body of Christ.
So, what are these gifts, you may be wondering?
Fortunately, Scripture lists several gifts of the Spirit. For instance, in Romans 12: 6-8 we have: prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, and mercy. And in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, we have words of knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. And additionally, in 1 Corinthians 12:28, we see healings, helps, governments, and diversities of tongues. While all the gifts serve to grow the body of Christ, clearly, they do so in very different ways.
Each gift of the Spirit has a distinct function.
But as 1 Corinthians 12 explains in greater depth, no one person being gifted by the Spirit and as a member of the body of Christ is greater or lesser in importance than the others. The Scripture states, “All these [spiritual gifts] are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” (1 Cor. 12:11 [ESV]) And later in verses 24 and 25, “…But God has so composed the body…that there may be no division in the body [of Christ], but that the members may have the same care for one another.” Again, as we saw previously in Romans 12:3-5, the apostle Paul explained that we are each members of one body. And just like a physical body has different members with different functions, so are we as members of Christ’s spiritual body. None of us should think more highly of ourselves, because every member of the body is important and is intended to work in conjunction with the others.
Each member of the body of Christ, gifted by the Spirit, is important and is intended to work alongside the other members.
I love that! God in His wisdom bestows giftings in the Spirit to each of us upon our conversion that are meant to encourage and grow the body of Christ. And in this way, what we bring through our gifts is beneficial and needed for the edification of His church. From the pastor teaching in the pulpit to the greeter at the door welcoming people, no gift is wasted. No gift is unimportant. Each contributes to the health and growth of the body of believers in Christ. Thank you, Father, for unifying your body in this way and giving us a common purpose through Your Spirit.
 “Thanksgiving Every Day.” Charles Stanley. In Touch Ministries, showtime, November 19, 2023, YouTube Video app.
 “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Cor. 12:7