While children can’t wait to open their Christmas presents and see what’s beneath the colorful wrapping paper, many adults will tell you that what they really want can’t be contained in a box. As we get older, our concept of gift giving often changes and the best gifts might not be ones you can wrap.
In today’s reading, Paul tells us about the gifts we receive as believers: “[T]o each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it” (v. 7). This grace shows up in our lives as what we call spiritual gifts (vv. 11–12). As a believer, Jesus has given us a special empowerment by the Holy Spirit. The New Testament in several places lists these spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12; Rom. 12; 1 Peter 4:10, 11). These lists differ from one another, which tells us that none of them is complete. Jesus gives His followers a wide variety of gifts.
One important thing we notice about these gifts is they are given for a reason: “[T]o equip his people for works of service” (Eph. 4:12). These gifts are meant to be used for the benefit of others. This relates to our theme this week of Jesus giving us the gift of purpose. When we came to faith in Christ and were brought into the church, it was not simply to fill a seat in a pew each Sunday. Instead, we have been given a job to do.
Some people are called to use gifts of teaching and leadership to equip other believers. Others are called to “works of service.” Every spiritual gift is important and vital for the mission of the church. God gave us all different gifts so that we would depend upon one another.
>> Perhaps you are not sure what your spiritual gifts are. One practical way of discovering them is to see what needs exist in your church and try to serve in those areas and see what God does with it. The church needs you. You have been given a gift to help serve others.
Dear God, help us to recognize Your spiritual gifts and show us how we can use them for Your glory. Keep us from being jealous of the gifts others might have, but instead to be thankful for the way You’ve equipped us to serve.