Ever feel like you’re nobody special, that God can’t use you, that you have nothing to offer? That’s absolutely not true! Not only has God made you a special, unique person, but He has given you gifts to use in your unique way for Him.
You will not serve God in the same exact way as someone else. In fact, the Bible clearly says that there are different ministries and activities. It is the Holy Spirit who decides who gets which gift.
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” 1 Corinthians 12:4-7. “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” 1 Corinthians 12:11.
The Bible proceeds to list several spiritual gifts: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues, apostles, teachers, helps, administrations, ministry, exhortation, giving, leading, mercy, etc (see 1 Cor 12, Rom 12, Eph 4).
Are these all the gifts? No, of course not! They are a representative sample. You may have a spiritual gift of baking bread, or writing letters, that God has given you to use for His glory. Spiritual gifts are whatever God chooses to give you that will build up His Body on earth.
So what’s the difference between a natural talent and a spiritual gift? Sometimes, nothing! God is God. He can take a natural talent – that He gave you to begin with – and train you to use it for Him. When you use it for His Body of Believers, it becomes a spiritual gift.
A secular singer who sings for money and wealth is not using a spiritual gift. But if that singer turns his/her life over to God and gives that natural talent to God to be used for His glory, it becomes a spiritual gift. The singer may still receive money – singers have to eat, too!
But the difference is that now their talent belongs to God and is used for His glory, not for the glorification of the singer.
Sometimes gifts are given miraculously. Many years ago a fellow classmate told me a story. She was asked to speak at a very small church in Inter-America. She didn’t know Spanish, but the church was so hungry for contact outside their little region, that she agreed. She took a translator with her. As she spoke, the translation process was laborious and awkward, but she plowed on anyway.
Not too far into her sermon a man stood up from the congregation. And what he said astonished her.
In halting English he said, “Don’t use the translator, ma’am. We hear you in Spanish.” And he sat down. She proceeded with her sermon – in English, without the translator – and the congregation understood every word! God gave a miraculous gift of tongues at a time that was sorely needed for His people in that congregation.
Spiritual gifts can be natural talents turned into His use, or they can be miraculous gifts that God gives for a short (or long) time for a specific situation(s). God is the one who decides!
So what if you don’t think you have a spiritual gift? Take an inventory of what you do best. How has God already gifted you? Now turn these things over to God and let Him direct how you use them. Then watch to see what He does with you!