“God has given each of us a task to do and supernatural gifts to do it.” Billy Graham from his book The Holy Spirit…
I had a conversation the other day with a recently retired person who told me she had volunteered in several capacities but she had not found her “place” yet. She recounted her experience at a local mission center where she was given a job to do that may not have tapped her skills. She was told to hand out bags of food on distribution day. She did her assigned task but said, “My heart was just not in it. I wonder if there is somewhere else where I am needed.” Is she searching for her spiritual gift? Is there such a thing as a search for your spiritual gift? How will you know if you have a gift and you are doing your “spirit” work for The Lord?
That conversation and the associated questions are addressed in Graham’s chapter on gifts of the Spirit.
First of all, God has given each committed Christian believer at least one gift and He wants us to use it for His Glory. The person above is possibly in a search for hers. I know her and I know her work-life skill set; it may not be handing out bags of food. Paul wrote to young Timothy and said “kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you.” Before we go further, sometimes we are called to serve others who are in a humble sphere of life. Not everyone is called to service in some prominent position so humble work is fine. God may call us to do humble acts of service, but maybe this person was right…her spiritual gift was not being utilized in this location.
One key thing she told me made me wonder if she had found her “place”; the expression “my heart was just not in it.” Graham says that when someone finds their spiritual gift, there is a degree of ease in the performance of their work. There is a feeling that the “fit” of the person in the situation is right; they feel it in their heart.
Discovering your spiritual gift is a matter of thoughtful prayer on your part. We should pray for God to guide us to where we can best serve. If we are willing, we will find work that fits us; God will reveal it. God will provide it. God will situate us where we can be used the best. Some people are not prone to be led by God. They want to force themselves into a situation or they want to “demand” God to reveal their gift so they can get to work. It does not work that way. Prayer, patience and following God’s lead is the way this usually happens. Where you end up serving may be a surprise, but that is where God wants you to be.
Some Christians are afraid to let God lead them to their spiritual gift. Maybe they will find themselves in a situation where God is asking a lot of them and they are hesitant to commit. I once was told by a Christian that they were afraid that God would lead them to be a missionary and they were scared to death to perform that kind of work.
Prayer and an intelligent understanding of what the Bible says about spiritual gifts is the best guide. Graham writes that his book is “no substitute for first-hand study of the Bible’s teaching on the gifts of the Spirit….If we find we are reluctant to know God’s gifts because we are afraid of what He might call us to do with them, this needs to be faced and confessed before God.”
Graham says everyone knows what they are good at. We all have personal experiences which would lead us to do one job or another. We may find we like to do certain things and God may reveal to us that we are really good at doing them in situations where the skills are needed, the service is valued and He will get the glory. The person I opened with is continuing her search for her “place.” Graham says it is good to try a variety of situations in various ministries until we find our place. Other people can help us as they reveal what they think about our talents; maybe we don’t have an accurate picture of what we can do.
As times goes on, the process of discovering our spiritual gift[s] may be a lengthy one and as we live our lives, we may find gifts emerging as we find new opportunities to serve The Lord. Don’t be discouraged; God wants to use you for His Glory. He wants you to share your gifts and abilities with others but as Graham says “we will never be used by Him in the fullest way until we know our gifts and we have committed them to Him.”
This is a level of life that sounds so fulfilling. Beth Moore speaks of this commitment in her book Praying God’s Word: “The giant step in the walk of faith is the one we take when we decide God no longer is a part of our lives. He is our life.”
To my friend, be patient, pray, read the Bible about gifts of the Spirit, be open to God’s direction.
He will show you where to go. He will provide what you need. He will allow you to use your spirit gift to serve others…
And to glorify Him…