“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. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” – 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
I get in my own way a lot. The earthly part of me gets disappointed when I’m reminded that my wisdom of the Bible isn’t as strong as I think it should be. I’ll think, wow that person is wise, I wish I could be like them. Or wow, that person was so good at understanding what God’s will was at that moment and I totally missed it… When I’m focusing on my own shortcomings I’m forgetting that I have strengths others don’t. We’re all endowed with gifts, many will overlap with others but when we’re in the company of others it’s likely that each will have gifts that differ and also compliment each other. It’s exactly as it should be.
“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment.” 1 Corinthians 12: 21-24
Each of us has gifts that fulfill a different purpose in God’s kingdom. We’re all called to do kingdom work, and while some gifts make those around us more visible than others, there are no lowly positions when we’re doing God’s work.
“But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” 1 Corinthians 12: 24-26
My personal flaws prevented me from understanding my gifts, but trying to assign myself the roles I wanted. I of course wanted more, I wanted what others had. I didn’t want to be the one pushing the broom and cleaning bathrooms, I wanted to be the go-to for all kinds of Biblical matters when the truth is, my gifts are much better suited for cleaning and serving others behind the scenes. When I wrap up a task that’s easily missed, I feel like I just completed the most incredible task and I’m energized to do more. I’m now in a place where I can better understand my gifts and how I can use them that are an acknowledgment of how God put me together. How He wants me to do His work. I’m no longer striving for myself, I’m working with God and for God. It’s amazing what can happen as recovery takes place, I can look at my gifts, embrace them and learn how I can use them in service of others. There’s no gift that’s subservient to any other, we may assign them an order, but to God there’s importance to them all.
“To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” – 1 Corinthians 12:8-12
I encourage you to take a spiritual gifts test. The one I’ve used can be found at http://giftstest.com/ and will give you 60 or so questions, will show you the results and will email them to you with descriptions of each. It’s been another transformative step for me to begin understanding how I was put together, and how I can help, not just how I want to help. If you don’t see a gift show up as one of your top 3 or 4 gifts don’t think the test is wrong, it may be that it’s a talent of yours, or something you’re very good at. It doesn’t mean you should stop doing that, nor does it diminish the way you’ve used them in the past, it’s an attempt to highlight those areas that are strongest for you.
I’d also encourage you to share the test with someone you’ve known for a while to take the test and answer the questions for you. It’s interesting to get a different perspective on ourselves from someone else, because they may see a gift we have that our own humility doesn’t allow us to see.
Grace, peace and love be yours in abundance.