This post was inspired by an email I got asking if someone had a particular spiritual gift. I don’t recall ever writing about spiritual gifts, so here we go. 🙂
There are a wide variety of gifts and abilities given to Believers by the Holy Spirit. Some of the gifts listed in the Bible are: healing, miracles, prophecy, helps, administration, pastoring and teaching, though I believe there are also many more.
All gifts (with the exception of tongues/prayer language) are intended to benefit and build up the Body.
I tend to think of gifts in three levels, or tiers:
Tier One: Ability
Holy Spirit is the source of all the gifts and lives inside of every Christian. I believe this means that all gifts are available to all Christians. Said differently, every Christian has the potential to operate in every gift. Indeed, the purpose of Church leadership is to equip the Saints for the work of ministry – to help develop these gifts and abilities within the whole congregation so that they don’t bottle neck with a select few.
Tier Two: Gift
I define gifting as being used by The Lord repeatedly for a specific task or function. If God likes to use you in a particular way, I say you have the “gift.” Gifts are usually more pronounced than Abilities, though probably because of practice. People with gifts usually don’t recognize it; they have become so comfortable doing something (helping, administrating, healing, etc.) that they gift seems like an expression of their character. We all have different gifts. Someone may repeatedly be used to prophesy, but that doesn’t exclude them from needing to evangelize, help or offer hospitality. The Body is not intended to be a highly specialized organism – it is full of beneficial redundancies.
Tier Three: Office
When someone’s gift is developed to a high degree and is very powerful, that person gets recognition from the Body of Christ – locally, regionally, nationally, or even internationally. At this point, that person is considered to be “in office.” We generally restrict the title “office” to the five-fold ministry talked about in Ephesians (Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher, Evangelist), but I think that is a narrow view. Furthermore, I think the “gift” of the five-fold ministry is the person and their worldview, not their abilities. Anyhow, whenever someone’s gift is exceptionally strong and starts to influence other people, that person becomes responsible for how they use their gift to help others grow into Christ – in other words, they become a leader and are held to a higher standard in terms of character, doctrine and lifestyle.
There is obviously much more to say on this subject, but this is a good start. To recap:
* Every believer has the potential to operate in any of the gifts of the Spirit
* If you find God repeatedly using you in a certain way to bless and encourage others, you are gifted in that area.
* If your gift is so highly developed that you start getting corporate recognition from the Body (locally, regionally, etc.) and have the ability to influence people, you are considered to have an office.
As always, thanks for reading.