Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 14: We've Got So Much To Give: Talents and Gifts

The tremendously popular Spiderman has made its mark in almost every form of media possible. What began as a Marvel Comic has grown into an empire, with a history of a television series, several blockbuster films and now a Broadway theater production. The rock musical, entitled Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, features a score written by U2's Bono and The Edge.

So what originally made this story of an orphan boy being raised by his aunt and uncle so popular? Peter Parker, the story's protagonist, was the most unlikely superhero when he came on the scene in the early 1960's. A bright and imaginative teenager, the shy Peter also suffered from rejection by his peers, loneliness and an insatiable crush on his next-door neighbor. Teenage boys immediately identified with Peter, visualizing themselves, like Peter, being endowed with the superpowers of a radioactive spider.

The underlying theme of Spiderman can be found in the words of his guardian, the late Uncle Ben: "With great power there must also come great responsibility." Peter Parker spends his life attempting to rise to this challenge -- fighting evil and protecting good.

While still in your mamas' womb, God began to place some special abilities in you. For some of you that may be musical abilities. For some, He gave the ability to create beautiful things with your hands. For others, you may have amazing athletic prowess. Like my son Christian, you may not be able to remember a time when you weren't cradling a football twenty-four hours a day.

Or maybe you're an amazing dancer...

These special abilities are called talents. We've all got them, whether they're obvious or not. Every single person in the world has got at least one talent that God has given him or her, regardless of our relationship with God. Although it requires time and effort to mature in our talents, they're with us from the time we're born.

When we become born again (see John 3:1-8), God gives us another set of special abilities. Every Christian has got them, whether they're obvious or not. Unlike talents, these abilities are given by the Holy Spirit only to believers. These special abilities are called spiritual gifts.
"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us." Romans 13:4-6a
"Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good." 1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-7
On Tuesday I discussed a lot about Willow Creek Association's Network program. Network defines spiritual gifts as:
"Special abilities given by the Holy Spirit and distributed to every believer according to God's design and grace for the common good of the body of Christ."
 So let's break that down into small bites:
  • These gifts are special abilities
  • They are given by the Holy Spirit, who is God, the third Person of the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit)
  • They are distributed to every believer; every Christian has at least one
  • They are distributed according to God's design and grace; we don't choose our spiritual gifts -- God does
  • They are distributed for the common good of the body of Christ; our spiritual gifts are for the glory of God and the benefit of other believers (and unbelievers, by the way)
Like Peter Parker's Uncle Ben said:
"With great power there must also come great responsibility." 
I don't claim to have a full list of spiritual gifts, but here's a fairly comprehensive one: Administration, Craftsmanship, Creative Communication, Encouragement, Faith, Giving, Helps, Hospitality, Intercession, Leadership, Mercy, Apostleship, Prophesy, Evangelism, Shepherding, Teaching, Discernment, Word of Knowledge, Word of Wisdom, Healing, Interpretation, Miracles and Tongues. (This list of gifts can be found in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4:11, 1 Peter 4:9-10, 1 Timothy 2:1-2, Exodus 31:2-5 and Psalm 150:3-5.)

Some of you are familiar with your spiritual gifts and have been exercising them and maturing in them for years now. Others of you may be uncertain of your gifts. I urge you to search the scriptures and ask God to reveal your spiritual gifts. Also, any churches have classes that offer spiritual gifts tests. Network is one of many, and these are invaluable.

And in case your wondering, my spiritual gifts are discernment, mercy and creative communication. My discernment helps me to see things in a spiritual sense that I wouldn't be able to see without this gift. I can often sense an insincere or troubled person the very first time I meet him or her. God has given me this gift to warn me and others about things I wouldn't normally be able to see.

My mercy helps me to feel things for other people around me. I hurt deeply for hurting people, sometimes even people I'll never meet. People are drawn to this in me and often confide their deepest emotions.

My creative communication gives me a desire to see God's truth communicated in exciting ways. It often puzzles me why churches invest time, money and energy into making the church experience exciting for children and teenagers. But for some reason, we seem to think everyone over the age of twenty-one wants to be bored out of our minds! I love contributing to the beauty and sensationalism of the church and bible study experience. I love sharing poetry, dance, sign language, drama, art, etc. during the church service. If I don't have the particular talent needed (ahhh, talent is used in church too), I find someone who can!

Once I discovered my spiritual gifts, I've been free to use them to the glory of God and the benefit of others. Will you seek to discover and use yours as well?

Purposed For Him,



  1. And those God given gifts, together in one package, are a part of one beautiful woman. I have benefitted from your discernment on multiple occassions!

  2. Michelle, that brings tears to my eyes. Thanks Sister.

  3. I didn't know what gift you had. Those totally fit you!

    Thanks for a great post. I need to operate more in my gifts. I'm really enjoying your posts.

  4. Thanks Monique! Btw, trust me, you're already operating in your gifts more than you realize!

  5. I love this and the encouragement to everyone who thinks they have no talents. Wonderful post!

  6. Can't wait to investigate this further. I look forward to that network seminar- if that's part of the New Members process. P.S. Of course you have the gift of "creative communication"!. You are very good at moving the minds of people to evaluate faith in God. I am so glad I have met you and you pointed me to your blog. Thatnks for your openness!