The body is one of Paul’s favourite metaphors for the church. Jesus is the head and we make up the various parts of the body, doing different things that help the whole body of the church function well. Without thinking too hard about what part of the body you may be (colon anyone?!), every one of us is vital!
Each local church is not like a football match where 22 people in dire need of a rest are watched by 22,000 in dire need of some exercise. The Lord empowers us to serve with different spiritual gifts. Some are teachers, some get words of knowledge (information that will help the recipient that they couldn’t have known naturally), administration, helping people, generosity, even celibacy is a gift. There are lists of spiritual gifts in 1 Cor 12, Roman 12, Eph 4 and elsewhere.
Do we have a gift or can we use any gift when needed? Romans 12 assumes we have a gift and use it. The 1 Corinthians 12 list is more situational – God will give you a gift for a situation. Both are true – there may be one or two spiritual gifts that you use regularly and you may get a gift for a particular situation that you have never used before.
How do we know what gifts we have? Give it a go, serve God, earnestly desire the gifts and see what you seem to have a flair for. There are online spiritual gift surveys, but they kind of assume you have already had a go!
Pray: Earnestly desire the spiritual gifts.