March 28, 2023 — Spiritual Gifts — It Doesn’t Say “If”

Stan was enjoying the blueberry pancakes. “You know,” he said, “Cook is really good at what he does. These pancakes are fabulous!”

“Yeah,” I replied, “you could even say that he’s gifted at preparing food.”

“Gifted,” Stan said. “That’s a good way to put it. Cook is gifted. However, even though these  pancakes are heavenly, they probably don’t rise to the level of being a spiritual gift.”

I smiled at Stan’s joke and said, “I really don’t think spiritual gifts are something to joke about.”

“You’re right,” he replied. “Sorry. Spiritual gifts are a serious matter. In fact, just the other day, one of my neighbors came by to talk about his spiritual gifts.”

“His spiritual gifts?” I said. “What kind of spiritual gifts does your neighbor have?”

“That’s exactly what we were talking about,” Stan replied. “My neighbor started by saying he doesn’t have any spiritual gifts.”

“Doesn’t have any?” I replied. “Is your neighbor a Christian?”

“That’s what he says,” Stan responded, “and it seems to me that he is.”

Well,” I said, “I thought all Christians have spiritual gifts, and if your neighbor is a Christian he must have a least one spiritual gift. Do you think that’s true?”

“I do,” Stan replied. “And that’s what I told my neighbor.”

Continuing, he added,”It seems to me that if it’s true that some Christians don’t have any spiritual gifts, the Bible would say “if.”

“If?” I replied.

“Yeah,” Stan said. “For example, where the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome
about spiritual gifts, he would have written something like, ‘If you have any spiritual gifts, you are to exercise them.’ But that’s not what he wrote. He wrote, ‘Since we have gifts’.”

“Oh,” I replied, “it’s not ‘if;’ it’s ‘since’.”

“That’s right,” Stan said. “If Paul, had used ‘if’ there could be some room for saying that not all Christians have spiritual gifts, but that’s not what he wrote.”

“Well,” I responded, “if that’s really true, how do people go about figuring out what spiritual gifts they have been given?”

“That’s another subject for another day, probably many days,” Stan replied with a smile, “but the essential first step is to recognize and accept as true that through the Holy Spirit God has given gifts.”

“Seems to me,” he continued,”that If a person doesn’t take that first step, there’s going to be little or no progress in the direction of figuring out what gifts the Holy Spirit has given!”

“Accept as true, and go on from there,” I commented. “That sounds kind of like what our faith walks are supposed to look like!”

“It does, doesn’t it?” Stan replied with a smile.


Bible verses to consider:

And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly; if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6 -8.

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10.

For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you have given spiritual gifts to each person, gifts that you intend to be exercised for your purposes.  I ask you to open me to see, understand, receive, and embrace each spiritual gift you have given.  Additionally, I ask you to open each person to the same truth, that each person will be open to recognizing that you have, indeed, given spiritual gifts so they will see and use what you have given.  Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life eternally with Him through the cross of Christ so that you have spiritual gifts to be used for God and His kingdom? If no, why have you chosen to be separated from God? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, are you exercising the spiritual gifts that have been given to you? If you sense the need for change in how you view and/or exercise spiritual gifts, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not? 

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