There are Many Gifts
We have likely all been taught about spiritual gifts. We are aware there are gifts of miracles, such as healing, or prophesying. We are aware that someone might have the gift of teaching, or even be recognized as a teacher. We may regard gifts as a conglomorate of presents in a basket and at some time or another we can reach in a get one or have one given to us.
I will try and simply clarify my understanding for what we are studying here.
Gifts are mentioned several times in the Bible and they are sometimes listed under the benefactor's name. For instance, in I Cor. 12, we are told that the miracle gifts, signs and wonders, are gifts of the Holy Spirit. He gives those gifts to those who need them to demonstrate the power of God and undo the works of the enemy. Prophesying, healing, miracles are a demonstration of the power that Jesus had, and they are given and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Then there is Ephesians 4 that tells us that Jesus, when he took the enemy captive by his death, secured the gifts of offices so that the church (the people of the church) might be equipped to establish the church and equip or train the saints. Those offices: pastor, teacher, evangelist, prophet, apostle, stand as the foundational offices to equp the saints. They may be prominent and well known persons operating in these gifts, or little known, but they are the pieces that continue to build up and establish the people of God on the earth. A Sunday school teacher might be a Pastor to his Sunday School class. A Pastor might have the office of teacher and Sunday after Sunday he teaches the congregation deep truths about God.
That leaves Romans 12 where there is a list of seven gifts and an admonishment to the person who is called to one of those seven. There seems to be a way to fall down in the gift, and so they come with a kind of warning.
Those who serve should serve cheerfully. The implication is that one can serve and not be cheerful at all.
Why wouldn't a person who was designed to serve be cheerful about it?If you know a person "designed to serve" you know why. They have a hard time saying "no" to anyone and thus can become overwhelmed and burned out, unable to discern what they should and should not be doing.
These are the seven gifts that we are going to study. It is our belief that one of these seven gifts is given to each of us in a measure that will determine many of our characterisitics, behaviors, and ultimately will bring us to our destiny and fulfillment. We are not talking about the Holy Spirit or Jesus and their gifts for believers, but for every human being on earth created by the Father of life and the giver of all good gifts.
Whether you are a believer or not, holy or unholy, these characterisitcs are a large part of who you are, how you process, what your goals will be, and how you will live.
Let's look at some people in scripture for practice:
John, the apostle.
Obviously, he was called to the office of apostle for evangelism. Obviously, he received revelation and wrote the prophetic book of Revelation. But what was his redemptive gift? Which one of the seven gifts was he?
The question is probably unfair, since we haven't said much about these gifts yet, but if you think about John, what was he like? He was sensitive, affectionate, intimate with Jesus, insightful into the nature of Jesus. This makes John a redemptive mercy. You will comprehend this in time, if you don't now.
Compare him to Peter. Peter was flamboyant, expressive, impulsive, radical, passionate, and fickle. Peter was a redemptive prophet.
Compare him to Paul: Paul was articulate, energetic, argumentative, sound, eloquent, convincing, a prolific writer, a world changer. Paul was an exhorter.
Yet all three are in the office of apostle, and all three demonstrated the power of the Holy Spirit. But they were different personalities with different assignments and destinies that were affected by their redemptive gifts.
Paul was a great teacher. Peter spoke on the day of Pentecost with the passion of a prophet. John moved toward an intimate relationship with Jesus. They are still all called to be apostles.
Once you understand more of the characteristics, you will begin to see why it took a Joseph to escort Mary to Behlehem, or why God might have chosen another Joseph to go to Egypt.