Do you know your Spiritual Gifts?

By Rev. Chris Harris


Pentecost is coming on June 4!

Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus as recorded in the Book of Acts. (Acts 2:1–31) The annual feast day is closely aligned with the concept of Spiritual Gifts – various gifts, abilities, or skills that the Apostle Paul says are given to all believers by the Holy Spirit to glorify God and build up the Body of Christ. According to Paul, we all have different gifts and thus no two of us are the same, but each of us matter because each of them are important if we are to love and serve the world in the name of Christ. (Romans 12:4-6, see also 1 Corinthians 12:  12-20). 

But how do I know what my gifts are?  

For Christians, discovering our gifts is a lifelong process of discernment, including prayer, listening to your heart, trying things out, experimenting, and paying attention to what you love, what others are asking of you, and where you are needed. In his book, Wishful Thinking, Frederick Buechner summarizes it this way: 

“God calls us to is the place where our deep joy meets the world’s deep need.”

In short, discernment is about discovering who you are, how God has gifted you, and where might God be calling you to give your gifts away. You can begin discovering your gifts by asking yourself, questions like:

  •       What do you love to do?
  •       What are you passionate about? Who does your heart break for? 
  •       Is there a cause or a population you feel particularly drawn to serving?
  •       What is your personal style? Are you extroverted or introverted? Do you like to work in groups or on your own?
  •       Do you have special skills or talents you can share with those in need? Are you a doctor, a lawyer, an architect, teacher, etc.? 
  •       Are you naturally talented with the ability to sing, listen, or dance? Are you a gifted artist or writer?
  •       Have you survived particular challenges or hardships in the past that have given you the empathy needed to ministry to others going through similar experiences? As someone who has survived cancer or a divorce or an addiction, can you now be there for others in a way that no one else can?

Of course, that is not to say that serving out of your giftedness won’t be challenging or difficult at times. In fact, it may very well be some of the hardest work you ever take on. The difference is, when you serve in a way that lets your gifts sing and lets you be most fully you, you’ll find a sense of profound fulfillment and purpose that can only come from God.

It’s one of my great passions to help people find their gifts and to find that intersection where God might be calling you to give them away. One place to start is to take our online Time & Talent Survey or take a look at some of our many ministries here and then let’s get together for coffee and let’s see where you might try to find your place in the Body of Christ. (Email Rev. Chris Harris at charris@christchurchcranbrook.org)

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