DEVOTION – GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
I’m pretty sure re-gifting is not a recent idea. Although it seems to be gaining popularity, there are those who consider it a tacky practice. The idea is that if you get three toaster ovens for your wedding, for example, you could give two of them away as gifts to someone else. It is important to take stock of the things we own. “If it’s not being used, it’s wasted” is my wife’s motto. I seem to have a hard time living up to this expectation and often find unused and underappreciated items in my possession.
God gives us much more than the earthly blessings of house, job, and family. He also gives us spiritual blessings.
Gifts, of course, come to us in many different forms. Our Heavenly Father is truly the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), but God gives us much more than the earthly blessings of house, job, and family. He also gives us spiritual blessings, including faith to know and trust our Savior, and the ability to understand and believe His Word. But intermixed with these more obvious presents are some often unused or underappreciated gifts as well. Throughout the Scriptures we read of the Holy Spirit coming to His people to bestow upon them a variety of skills and abilities as gifts.
In the Old Testament, we read of the Spirit of God coming to specific individuals with a variety of gifts. Many men and women were blessed with the gift of prophecy. David had not only the gift of prophesy, but also the added gifts of music and poetry. What a blessing his Spirit-inspired lyrics, recorded in the Psalms, have been to the Church throughout the ages! I’m sure his music could lift the spirits of the believers of his day just as it calmed the heart and mind of Saul.
In the book of Exodus we read of a man, Bezalel, who was given a special gift. The Lord tells us He had filled this man, “. . . with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship”
When the Spirit came to Gideon, he was given courage and wisdom to use in battle. The Spirit of God was the true source of Samson’s incredible strength. Whether he used his strength wisely to defeat God’s enemies, or foolishly to “show off,” it still remained the Spirit’s gift (read Judges, chapters 13-16).
In their New Testament letters, we can see that the apostles Peter and Paul were of the opinion that all believers in Christ would receive gifts from the Spirit. Even though these gifts may be diverse in nature, Paul reminds us that they have unity in one Giver and one purpose. Paul emphasizes this diverse unity in 1 Corinthians 12:1 and following, but drives home the purpose of the gifts with verse 7, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” Peter echoes this sentiment in 1 Peter 4:10, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
Unlike many gifts, ours from the Holy Spirit are given for a purpose: our God would have us use them, not for self-glorification, but rather for the benefit of our fellow believers and the furtherance of His Church. No matter the gift—helping, teaching, preaching, encouraging, praying, enhancing worship or the worship facility—we need to take stock of our lives to identify any unused or under-appreciated gifts that we might possess.
In other words, let us find the gifts the Spirit has bestowed upon us, sharpen them into the best possible tools, and then re-gift them—to glorify the God Who gave them, and to benefit our fellow man.
David W. Bernthal is the principal
of Luther Memorial School in
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.