by Cade Farris
Jennifer and I always taught our children to say, “Thank you,” whenever they receive a gift whether it was one they really liked or one that was not so great. When it comes to the spiritual gifts that God gives every believer, we do not have to worry if God’s gifts are good or not. The Bible tells us that every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Lights (James 1:17).
The Greek word the Bible uses for spiritual gifts is charismatica. It means a “gift of grace.” God’s grace to us is His unmerited favor. Our spiritual gifts are God’s grace gifts to us. Every Christian has at least one spiritual gift, but many have both a primary and a secondary spiritual gift. These gifts are good and delightful.
Steve Scoggins, my mentor in pastoral ministry, would often refer to a line in the movie Chariots of Fire. In the movie, Olympic champion Eric Liddell is talking to his sister about his desire to go back to China to be a missionary. She is thrilled to hear of his decision. He also tells her that before he goes there, he has a lot of running to do first. Then he says, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run, I feel his pleasure.” Steve would often say, “When I preach, I feel His pleasure.” I feel exactly the same way when I preach and when I am ministering to people. When we use our spiritual gifts, we are energized because we are operating in the body of Christ in the way that God designed us.
In this edition of The Evangel, you will read testimonies of church members who genuinely enjoy using their spiritual gifts to serve others. You will also learn in this Evangel about the unique SHAPE (Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences) that you have as a follower of Jesus Christ. Each believer is a unique masterpiece created by God for good works (Eph. 2:10). The Lord has chosen to put us together in one local body of believers. In 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul uses the analogy of the human body when he describers the diversity of spiritual gifts. Each of us is like a piece of a puzzle. We all have been made to fit together and work together.
Artists rarely put every color of the spectrum on their palettes. Rather,
they choose only the colors they need to paint a picture. We are wrong when we attempt to paint our church to look like some other church.
Rather, we should paint with the colors that God has given us. In Ephesians 4 we read that God has given the spiritual leaders in the church “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:12-13, ESV).
We are created by God to do works of ministry. God gave our spiritual gifts to us that we might do the very works He has planned for us to do (Eph. 2:10). We are to do these works of ministry to build up the body of Christ and grow into spiritual maturity. It is critical that each one of us as parts of the body work properly, enabling the body of Christ to grow and build itself up in love. The goal is spiritual maturity—that we might look like Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29). There is no room for jealousy or showmanship when it comes to our gifts. 1 Corinthians 13 makes it abundantly clear that love is to under gird the practice of our spiritual gifts. Love is the most excellent way (1 Cor. 12:31).
Serving Christ with You,