God has given many gifts to each of us. We’ve not only been given life, food, clothing, and shelter, but we have also been given individual talents, inborn or innate aptitudes, and abilities. Are we developing them and using them in the right way for good purposes?
These wide-ranging gifts may be mechanical and mathematical or musical and artistic. We may be good at organizing, analyzing, strategizing, communicating, teaching, networking, influencing, negotiating, designing, singing, entertaining, encouraging, or empathizing. Human beings are certainly very gifted!
We commonly hear it said (well, at least it used to be commonly said!), that these abilities were God-given. Indeed, they are gifts from God! We couldn’t have them otherwise. James 1:17 tells us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.”
The Apostle Peter explains, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). The English Standard Version translates this verse, "As good stewards of the manifold grace of God, each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve one another." These gifts are widely varied. We should identify the gifts we have been given and then endeavor to use them in serving others as we have the opportunity.
We each vary in not only the gifts we have received but also in the degree of the gift. A few have a gift to a superlative degree, while most of us are more average. We each have different opportunities to use our gifts and sometimes must look for ways to use the gifts we’ve been given. We can pray for gifts as well as the opportunity to use them, for it is God who gives both. An example is in 1 Corinthians 3:5, where Paul explains that God uses different individuals to accomplish His goodwill. Also shown is the important principle of being rewarded for our individual efforts (v. 8). As another parable shows, we dare not just bury our gifts and talents, failing to use them (Matthew 25:14–30).
The principle of looking for opportunities to use our talents and abilities to serve others is also mentioned in Galatians 6:10: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
The idea of serving others increasingly seems to be a foreign concept in today’s society. So many seem to be filled with selfish ambition, striving to amass great wealth while pursuing hedonism, self-indulgence, and self-gratification. Sadly, such an unbalanced approach and selfish pursuit will not lead to real happiness.
We could ask ourselves why it is that God gives us our particular talents and abilities, and how we should approach using our talents. 1 Corinthians 12 instructs us concerning spiritual gifts. Verse 4 shows us that spiritual gifts are diverse, but all come through God’s spirit. Verse 7 explains that God gives these various gifts to each one “for the profit of all,” that is, to serve one another and the Church as a whole. We don’t all have the same gifts because “God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased” (v. 18). God established clerical offices as well as helpers, administrators, and those with abilities in languages (v. 28).
God gives these gifts according to His own will (Hebrews 2:4). He also instructs, in Romans 12:6–11, that these gifts differ according to the grace that is given to us, and that we should use them properly and diligently to serve the Lord.
Why is this important? Because we have an incredible destiny ahead if we learn to live God’s way of life and become like Jesus Christ. Get our free booklet Your Ultimate Destiny to find out more.