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.
Recommended extra reading
Practicing the Power (Sam Storms)
The Bible teaches us that we are to be filled with God's Spirit and that God's presence and grace is manifested among his people as they serve, love, and minister to one another. Yet some of the gifts that God offers to his people aren't commonly seen in many churches today. Gifts of prophecy, healing, tongues, and other supernatural gifts of God seem to be absent, and many Christians are unsure how to cultivate an atmosphere where God's Spirit can work while remaining committed to the foundational truth of God's Word. How can Christians pursue and implement the miraculous gifts of the Spirit without falling into fanatical excess and splitting the church in the process? In Practicing the Power, pastor and author Sam Storms offers practical steps to understanding and exercising spiritual gifts in a way that remains grounded in the word and centered in the gospel. With examples drawn from his forty years of ministry as a pastor and teachers, Storms offers a guidebook that can help pastors, elders, and church members understand what changes are needed to see God move in supernatural power and to guard against excess and abuse of the spiritual gifts. If you long to see God's Spirit move in your church and life, and aren't sure why that isn't happening or where to begin, this book is for you."