1 Corinthians 12: 1, 4-6
Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
How “informed” are you about spiritual gifts? I, personally, have spent the majority of my Christian life in charismatic circles so I should be one of these people who are “informed” about these things, right? WRONG. Did you know that the Bible mentions about twenty of them? TWENTY! I probably knew about half of them.
Here are the ones that the majority of the American Church is familiar with:
Then there are those that tend to be more emphasized in charismatic circles:
-Word of wisdom
-Gifts of healings
-Working of miracles
-Interpretation of tongues
And, lastly, we have the “not-so-awesome” ones. Why do I call them “not-so-awesome?” Well, it’s not because God thinks they are less awesome, but because they aren’t nearly as impressive or attractive as the others.
In a culture that screams at us to be unique individuals, these lesser-known gifts are “not-so-awesome” because they don’t push us to stand out as being more accomplished Christians. Think about it! Would you rather hear a message about how awesome you can be or about how you should be more sacrificial?
So, let me try and break a few of these down for you as succinctly as possible:
-Service: Anyone who attends a church knows that we are supposed to also serve that church body in some capacity. I know some pastors may not feel like their congregates have an understanding of that sometimes (insert pastor joke here), but most of them do. And for those of us who have the gift of service, it comes naturally. People with the gift of service just love to “put their hands to the plow” and play a part in advancing the church. Paul placed a high value on service in Romans 12:6.
-Exhortation: If you love to you encourage people, then that makes you an exhorter. It means you are patient and longsuffering. And these are things that the Holy Spirit places on the inside of every believer. Well, according to Galatians 5:22, that is...
-Giving: In other words, you are generous and willing to share your stuff. This is also mentioned in Romans 12:6.
-Mercy: If you are merciful, it means you have compassion for people who are sick and poor. This one is mentioned in Romans 12:6 and is categorized alongside other gifts like prophecy and exhorting. When we show mercy, it’s supposed to be done in a cheerful manner.
-Helps: Very similar to mercy and service, I find it interesting that it is placed in the same category as “gifts of healings, miracles and tongues” in 1 Corinthians 1:28.
Make no mistake about it. If you have a passion for serving, encouraging, sharing and helping other people, you are the possessor of a spiritual gift that is just as valuable as the “awesome gifts.”
There are many more gifts that I haven’t mentioned in this post; some like celibacy and intercession that tend to be a bit controversial. I can’t possibly do a topic like this justice in a blog post. But if you want to dig a little deeper, The Resurgence has a tremendous resource on this topic that can be found here.