"We Are Family" part 3:
Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
March 18, 2007
Main Passage: 1
Peter 4:8-11 (NLT)
Last week we began a
discussion about spiritual gifts. I know some of you were in the dark
about spiritual gifts beforehand. And all of us were in the dark during
the discussion. [The power went out during the service last week.] But
then it was as if the lights came on.
We talked last week about what spiritual gifts are. And we discovered
are SPECIAL ABILITIES distributed by the HOLY SPIRIT to every BELIEVER
according to God’s DESIGN and GRACE for the COMMON GOOD of the Body of
And we saw that there’s
a variety of spiritual gifts. The gifts listed in the Bible include…
So we saw that every Christ-follower has at least one spiritual gift.
We’re all unique. We’re given different spiritual gifts that compliment
our passions and our natural talents and our personality and our
experiences, and God blends all of that together to equip us to make a
unique contribution to His Body… our spiritual family… the Church.
We’re all unique. We’re all equipped differently. We have different
gifts, we serve in different ways, but it’s the same God we’re serving
and He oversees us all and He unifies us with a common purpose. And so
despite there being great diversity within His Body, the Church… we can
have great unity.
So that’s basically what we talked about last week. Today, what I want
to do is this… We’re going to cover three threes. I’m going to…
Give you three characteristics of Spiritual Gifts
Suggest to you three ways that you can discover what your gifts are
Offer you three warnings about Spiritual Gifts
Characteristics of Spiritual Gifts:
There is no
right or wrong Spiritual Gift
Remember, they are given
by God. And He’s pretty smart. He doesn’t make mistakes. You have
exactly the gifts you were meant to have.
1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
Each one should use whatever gift he has
received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its
There is no right or wrong spiritual gift, so whatever gift you’ve
received you should use to serve others.
are meant to glorify God and edify others
If you want to know what
spiritual gifts are for, there it is right there. To glorify God and
edify others. Going back to that passage in 1 Peter…
1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)
Each one should use whatever gift he has
received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its
various forms… So that in all things God may be praised through Jesus
So Spiritual Gifts are meant to glorify God and edify others.
When using your
Spiritual Gift, you will be effective and fulfilled
And that’s a great
indicator of what your spiritual gifts are. Are you effective in what
you’re doing? Are you fulfilled? If not, then perhaps you’re not gifted
in that area.
Ephesians 4:16 (NLT)
As each part does its own special work, it
helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and
growing and full of love.
So if you’re really using your spiritual gifts, you’re going to see
How to Identify Your Spiritual Gifts:
different areas of ministry
How do you know if
you’re gifted at something if you never try it? So I would say the
greatest way to identify your gifts is by trial and error. Experiment
in different areas of ministry… see what you’re good at… find out what
you enjoy… are you effective and fulfilled?
You know, there’s no shame in trying something and finding out you’re
no good at it. Remember, there is no right or wrong spiritual gift. And
so if you take a risk and try something only to discover that you’re
not gifted in that way, then there’s no reason to be embarrassed. In
fact, it’s a reason to celebrate because you’ve just learned a little
bit more about how God put you together.
How do you find out if you can teach if you never try teaching? How do
you find out if you’re gifted at leadership if you never lead anything?
How do you know if you have the gift of hospitality if you never
hospitalize anyone? Okay, maybe that’s not how that one works. But the
point is, you’ve got to experiment to discover where you’re gifted.
Make sense? Okay, let’s see how this works. Let’s just take one
ministry as an example. Our LIFE Groups. What kinds of gifts can be
used in our LIFE Groups? Actually, almost all of them.
Hospitality. You can host a group yourself in your home. Or the group
could actually be in someone else’s home but you can still serve as the
host. Obviously, you should coordinate that with the owner so you don’t
offend them, but you know what I mean? You can show up early, you can
set things up, you can make sure everyone’s comfortable during the
meeting… that kind of thing.
How about shepherding or pastoring? Well, that’s all about overseeing
the spiritual development of a small group of believers, and so the
small group leader is in a great position to experiment with that gift.
Or a LIFE Group leader may try using the gift of teaching. Or
leadership. Or knowledge. In fact, members of the group who aren’t
necessarily the group leader may try out those gifts, too.
Maybe there’s someone in the group who’s hurting. What a great
opportunity to try some mercy. Or perhaps healing. Or encouragement.
Maybe you have the gift of helps or the gift of serving, and so you
just fill in wherever you’re needed.
Within the context of a group meeting is a great opportunity to use
gifts of wisdom or prophecy or faith or prayer or discernment.
Or if you start a brand new group, you might see the gift of
apostleship in action. Remember what the apostles did? They travelled
around and started new groups of believers.
So as you can see, just within the context of our LIFE Groups, there’s
a whole array of opportunities to experiment and utilize spiritual
Another suggestion, if you want to identify your spiritual gifts…
Ask others what
they’ve observed in you
But if you do that, be
sure to give them permission to be honest.
You know how when you go to the optometrist, they get you to look
through those huge glasses (optical refractor also called a phoropter)
and they keep changing lenses on you? What do they ask? “Which is
better: A or B?”
Well, maybe that’s the way to go about asking other people for their
advice. “Am I better at teaching or encouraging? Am I better at
administration or at giving?” And when they answer, don’t be offended.
Thank them for being honest and for helping you understand yourself a
little bit better.
And a third suggestion if you want to identify your spiritual gifts is…
Make use of
Generally, with a gift
test (also called a gift discovery), you’re given a whole list of
statements… maybe 80 or 100 or 120 statements… and you read each one
and rate how true that is of you. And so you give each statement a
value. If the statement’s not true of you at all, then you’d give it a
value of 0. If it’s completely true of you, then you’d give it the top
value, whatever the scale is… And you’d enter that value onto a grid.
And then when you’ve done that with every statement, you’d have to do a
little bit of math. Say there were four statements that dealt with the
gift of Craftsmanship. You’d add those four values together. And you’d
do that with every gift. And whatever gifts come out with the top
values, that may be an indicator that those are your spiritual gifts.
Now, I like gift tests and I’ve used them a lot over the years. But
there is a danger with them. You might take a test and figure out what
the top gifts are and accept that those are your gifts, but maybe
you’ve never experimented with some of the other gifts so you don’t
really know if you rated those statements accurately. And so I want to
make clear that a gift test is only an indicator of what your gifts may
be. It’s not a conclusive test, it’s just an indicator.
Plus, I think your gifts may change for different seasons of your life,
depending on what God has called you to do. I didn’t used to believe
that… I used to think that once you have your gift or your gift-mix,
that was it. And that defined your ministry for life. But it seems to
me that God’s work in our lives is ongoing, and it’s ever-changing. And
so the gifts we have may change over time, as well.
Plus, 1 Corinthians 12 tells us…
1 Corinthians 12:31 (NLT)
So you should earnestly desire the most
Which tells me that God may change your gifts or at least add to them
as you grow and seek His will for your life.
Now, with that said, if you want to make use of a gift test you can
find one at this website…
Now, as we finish up this discussion about spiritual gifts, I want to
give you just a few warnings…
Warnings about Spiritual Gifts:
This is where you expect
everyone to be just like you, and so you project your gifts on others.
Say you’re gifted at giving. And so you give well and beyond your tithe
of 10%. And you really enjoy it. You give to the church, you give to
those in need… and you wonder what’s wrong with everyone else. Why
don’t they give like you give? Could I suggest that it might be because
you have the gift of giving and they don’t? But then, they’re gifted in
another way. And God’s going to hold each of us accountable for using
the gifts He’s given us, not the ones He hasn’t.
Maybe someone’s gifted
at leadership, and so they have an influence over others and people
listen to them and people follow them. They get all kinds of things
done and they’re respected and they’re given recognition publicly. But
say your gift is helps, and so much of what you do is in the background
and goes unnoticed. How do you respond?
Well, you could become envious. You could become resentful that you
don’t have such a flashy gift that gets you recognized. But look at
what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12…
1 Corinthians 12:22-23, 27 (NLT)
…Some parts of the body that seem weakest
and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we
regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care…
All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.
So whether you’re gifts are more visible or more behind-the-scenes, you
are a necessary part of the Body of Christ.
Don’t ignore or dismiss
ministry just because you’re not gifted in that area. Because we all
have to operate outside of our gifts from time to time.
Now, most of our ministry should reflect our giftedness. But things
will come up… needs will arise… and you may need to operate outside of
your giftedness for a time.
Let me give you an example. Let me read a story Jesus told in Luke 10…
Luke 10:30-34 (NLT)
“A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from
Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him
of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he
crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple
assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed
by on the other side.
“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt
compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds
with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his
own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.”
That’s the story of the Good Samaritan. And we normally praise the
Samaritan for taking care of the Jewish guy who had been beaten up. And
we use the priest and the Temple assistant as examples of what not to
But think about it. Maybe the Samaritan had the gift of mercy. And so
it just made sense that he’d use that gift. But the priest… maybe he
was gifted at administration. And maybe the temple assistant was gifted
at understanding foreign languages. Can they really be held accountable
for not helping the guy who had been robbed?
Of course they can! They may not have had the gift of mercy, but they
certainly had a responsibility to help out however they could.
Sometimes we have to fill roles and operate outside of our giftedness.
Sometimes there are ministry needs where we just help out as best we
can for a time because we’re needed there. We may not be gifted, but
we’re needed. And that’s okay. We can do that… for short periods of
It should never become the norm, but it can happen occasionally for
short periods of time.
of this message adapted from “Network” by Bruce Bugbee]