If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 4:11
“The gift that keeps on giving” is a marketing slogan dating back to the 1920s. It may first have been used to sell the phonograph. This catchphrase also accurately describes the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is Himself a gift given to those who belong to Jesus Christ. Everyone who has trusted in Christ is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9). But the Holy Spirit also bestows gifts on the believer.
Today’s passage is only one of several lists of spiritual gifts in the New Testament (Rom. 12:6–8; 1 Cor. 12:8–11; 12:28; Eph. 4:11; 1 Peter 4:11). Although they have much in common, they are not identical. This suggests that none of these passages was intended to provide a comprehensive list of all that the Holy Spirit enables believers to do.
Some of the gifts mentioned could be described as supernatural, but not all. Elsewhere in the Bible the Spirit’s ministry is linked with the work of craftsmen, designers, and embroiderers. According to Exodus 35:31–34, God chose Bezalel and “filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others.”
This means that learning and practice are consistent with the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Not only do we need to discover how God has gifted us, we improve the way we exercise those gifts through learning and practice. Although every believer is gifted by the Spirit, not all believers possess the same gifts. The Holy Spirit “distributes them to each one, just as he determines” (v. 11).
Apply the Word
If you would like to explore how the Holy Spirit has gifted you for ministry, you can begin by asking yourself two basic questions. First, what do you like to do? Second, what do you do well? Those who are empowered by the Spirit find joy in exercising their gifts. He enables them to be effective.