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Not 9 but 29 spiritual gifts. Do you know yours?

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Your search for significance starts here!

Multitudes of Christians mistakenly believe there are only nine spiritual gifts. They are unaware of how important it is to discover, develop and deploy our God-given gifts to fulfill our destiny in life. For over 50 years I’ve been passionate about helping people fulfill their destiny, so allow me the privilege of doing it for you.

Scripture heralds that Jesus “handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts …” (Eph. 4:10, The Message). Sadly, scores of Jesus' followers live their entire lives not knowing the treasure they’ve been given. 

Spurgeon, the “prince of preachers,” once visited an elderly lady in a poor house. The tiny room was pitifully furnished. As Spurgeon spoke with the woman, he noticed a framed piece of paper hanging on the wall with some writing on it. In response to his curiosity, the lady said it reminded her of an aged, invalid man she had nursed many years before. To show his appreciation for her loving care, the man scribbled a short note of thanks and signed it. He died shortly thereafter.

After much persuasion, Spurgeon received permission to borrow the paper. His hopes were confirmed when he brought the document to a nearby bank. “We’ve been wondering to whom the old gentleman left his money!” the bank officers exclaimed. An exorbitant sum had been sitting idle for years because the man had no heirs, and the bank had no record of the man’s will. Until now! The “thank you” note was actually the man’s last will and testament. The poor woman had been living in abject poverty for years, completely unaware of her vast wealth.

Every Christian who doesn’t use his or her spiritual gifts is like that woman. Churches across America are filled with people who are sitting atop hidden treasures that should be invested for God's glory and our good. This shouldn’t be! 

Simplified spiritual gifts survey

People who are gifts:

Apostle (governs): A “wise master builder” who establishes churches on a biblical foundation (Eph. 2:20).

Prophet (guides): Co-labors with apostles, imparting revelation to motivate and direct God’s people (Eph. 2:20).

Evangelist (gathers): Proclaimer of the Gospel and equipper of believers in effective lifestyle evangelism (Acts 8:5-7).

Pastor (guides/guards): Local shepherd who leads, instructs, and cares for the flock of God’s people (1 Pet. 5:1-3).

Teacher (grounds): Biblical instructor establishing God’s people in sound doctrine to mature and protect them (Eph. 4:11-14).

Gifts given to people:

Prophecy: Inspired forth-telling and at times fore-telling of an inspirational exhortation aligning with the Word of God (Rom. 12:6).

Teaching: Instructing others from sacred Scripture for their maturity (Rom. 12:7).

Exhortation: Encouragement, appeal, or admonition to follow the will of God (Rom. 12:8).

Giving: Gifting to make and give resources liberally for advancing God’s kingdom (Rom. 12:8).

Leading: Ability to motivate and manage God’s people for His purposes (Rom. 12:8).

Mercy: Ability to empathize and help the afflicted (Rom.12:8).

Word of wisdom: Illumination to understand and respond to situations from God’s perspective (1 Cor.12:8).

Word of knowledge: Supernatural revelation apart from human reasoning (1 Cor.12:8).

Faith: Spirit-born ability to believe God for the impossible/extraordinary (1 Cor. 12:9).

Healing: Supernatural ability to be a conduit of God's power for healing (1 Cor.12:9).

Miracles: Supernatural gifting to bring divine intervention outside the natural realm (1 Cor.12:28).

Discernment: God-given insight, foresight, and hindsight to judge between truth/error and unlock difficult situations (1 Cor. 12:10).

Tongues: linguistic ability to speak in non-understandable language to magnify God and edify the church with interpretation (1 Cor.12:10; 14:5).

Interpretation of tongues: Inspirational explanation giving meaning to a message in tongues (1 Cor. 12:30; 14:6).

Administration: Spirit-born ability to steer affairs of the church and beyond (1 Cor. 12:28).

Serving: Divinely inspired motivation to serve in practical ways, meeting needs in a joyful manner (Rom. 12:7).

Speaking: God-given enablement to communicate effectively as a spokesperson for God verbally or in writing (1 Pet. 4:11).

Additional/forgotten God-given gifts

Singing: Anointed ability to glorify God and inspire others by music and song (1 Chron. 15:16-27)

Songwriting: Enablement from God to create musical compositions that inspire others to express themselves in song (Deut. 31:19; 32:44; Psalms 73-83 (Asaph)).

Musician: One who is able to play an instrument skillfully and inspire others to play and sing for God's glory (1 Chron. 15:16; 16:42).

Craftsmanship: Anointed ability to design and craft items based on an inherent skill given by God (Ex. 35:30-33).

Here’s the deal: Spiritual gifts are tools not toys and we are twice told to “covet them” in 1 Corinthians 12-14. Jesus taught that if we use our gifts, we will be given more but if we don’t, they’ll eventually be taken away and given to others who are faithful (Matt. 25:29). Use it or lose it!

In this critical hour, may we take our place in the Church and culture as we discover, develop and deploy our gifts for the glory of God. Master your gifts and enjoy the promotion that comes from the Lord (Ps. 75:5-7). “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men” (Prv. 22:29, NAS).

Don't strive to be successful. Seek to be faithful and leave your success in the hands of God. Go for it!

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Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview. He loves people and loves awakening them to today's cultural realities and the responses needed for the bride of Christ—His church—to become influential in all spheres of life once again. He is also a public policy advisor with Liberty Counsel.

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