When someone is baptized into Christ, two things happen. First, that person’s sins are forgiven. Secondly, that person receives the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). The gift of the Holy Spirit enables each Christian to serve the church in a specific way. God gives us this gift, then we in turn share that gift with the church. Rom.12:6-8 says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
This list of spiritual gifts is not comprehensive. There are other gifts listed in Scripture. But this list gives us a pretty good start in considering what kind of gift we might have to give to the church.
Prophecy is speaking the word of God. We need more Christians in their schools, workplaces, neighborhoods and churches reminding others of what the Bible says that we must do or not do. As we speak the truth in love, the church will grow to maturity (Eph.4:15). We all have the responsibility to do this, but some are especially gifted in the area of speaking forth God’s truth.
Serving is a gift that many Christians have. Again, we all have the responsibility to serve, but some are extra blessed to do the physical work of the church that blesses other people. They are the ones who shovel snow off the church sidewalks, prepare the communion trays, clean the church building and so on and so forth. They primarily toil behind the scenes, not seeking the spotlight and often going unnoticed for their important work in the church.
Another gift is teaching. There are things that we all can teach to someone, but the ones with this gift are exceptionally capable of imparting knowledge from God’s word that can help other believers grow in their faith.
The next gift on the list is encouraging. One of Satan’s greatest tools is discouragement. How important it is that we encourage one another on a regular basis! Those whose spiritual gift is encouraging others have one of the most important jobs in the church. They are the ones who lift our spirits with their kind words of inspiration, whether written or spoken. They lift us up when we are down, and they remind us that our work in the church is not going unnoticed.
Some people have the gift of giving. They are able to joyfully give more than a tenth of their income to the church. They lead the way with their generosity and inspire others to give more of their finances to help the kingdom grow.
Still other people in the church are gifted with the ability to lead. God has always worked through individuals that he has called to lead the way. Leadership is in the hands of the few, and if you are called to lead, you must do that boldly, but humbly. Diligent, godly leaders are necessary if the church is to move forward today.
The final gift on this list is to show mercy. God has shown us mercy through his son, Jesus, and we are to in turn show mercy to others. Those who are especially gifted in this area spend a lot of time ministering to people who are sick or lonely or hurting. They send cards, bring food, offer prayers and generally make the worst moments of our lives a bit more tolerable. God bless all of those who have the gift of mercy!
Well, there you have it. Hopefully you have already figured out how God has gifted you to serve in your local church and are using your gift faithfully. Let’s all give our gifts to the church, not just at Christmas, but all year round.