I believe that there are many Christians who are not only confused about what spiritual gifts are, but what their spiritual gifts are. I have also seen some lists with a crazy number of things listed as spiritual gifts that are really talents.
The purpose of this post isn’t to have a lesson on what the spiritual gifts are (they’re listed in your Bible – Rom 12; 1 Cor 12; Eph 4; 1 Pet 4), or how to realize them, (look on the Internet for tests to help determine your spiritual gifts).
Today, I feel the need to differentiate and hopefully clarify a few things about Spiritual Gifts versus Personal Talents.
I hope that you will read this and be encouraged to look at your life and the talents the Lord has given you. I know that he will help you find a creative and exciting way to use those talents to express your gifts.
Please stop and share an example of a way that God has used the talents he has given you for his glory.
First of all, everything is a gift from the Lord. Our life, our money, our talents, our basic necessities. The Bible says that every good gift comes from the Father (Jas 1:17).
So of course people’s special talents are a gift… but they’re not necessarily a spiritual gift.
Gifts of the Spirit are special, spiritual gifts that the Lord gives when you are born again, because they help you fulfill the purpose God has for your life. These things are not about you. You did not earn them; you cannot add to them or change them because they are spiritual in nature; they are about Him. You can, however, grow in all of them as you use them in your life. (e.g. Giving may not be your spiritual gift, but you can still grow in giving as you surrender it to the Lord)
A few random gifts listed in the scriptures:
ministry (service) / teaching / exhorting / giving / ruling / shewing mercy / word of wisdom (also called speaking) / discerning of spirits / evangelism / pastoring
Personal Talents are things that you do well, maybe better than someone else. These things are also from the Lord, but you can hone them, change or improve them to be used more fully by the Lord.
Your talents are the vehicle through which you can use your spiritual gifts to glorify God.
Here are a few Examples:
Gift: Exhortation (to encourage or admonish) with Talent: Music
If your spiritual gift is exhortation, and your talent is singing: You can sing songs to encourage, or to remind your audience of things that the Lord puts in your heart.
If your talent is playing an instrument, you can play for church service or a special or even do concerts where you play music to the Lord on an instrument.
Gift: Teaching with Talent: Music
If your spiritual gift is teaching and your talent is music, you can write songs with words that teach a spiritual truth or will lift up the hearer to the Lord.
Many people can teach. Those for whom it is a spiritual gift are those who have a way of seeing wisdom that the rest of us might miss. They can put into words the spiritual truths that we are feeling, and they make it simple for the rest of us to understand.
You won’t have to go much farther than this website to see that Jon McNaughton has an incredible talent for painting. He is using that talent to teach about the Lord.
Gift: Mercy / Giving Talent: cooking
You can go to a homeless shelter and feed the poor. Reach out to the needy or the hurting in your church body or local community.
None of these examples requires a great deal of money. They only require time and the willingness to reach others with your spiritual gifts by using the special talents and creativity that make you, you.
Other ways our talents can be used to share our gifts:
building / carpentry / construction / engineering – Use these talents to minister to your church body; to help with holiday productions or special services; minister to a widow in need.
education – Even if your gift is edifying you can still use your education training and experience to teach children or a home Bible study.
writing – Can be used to teach, write a note to edify your friend, write information manuals to give office procedures or policies (if your gift is administrations).
art / drawing – There is a man who has come to our church and has used his ability to create pottery to illustrate some great spiritual truths. My husband discovered a hidden talent for drawing while teaching Sunday School. The kids loved his art work.
mothering / fathering – Many kids need to be loved and taken care of; not just taught in class.
acting – Does your church put on any plays? How about community theater (evangelism again)?
fishing – Fishing tournaments as outreach (evangelism, edification).
What is your talent? What is your gift? How are you using them together for the Lord?
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matt 5:16