Romans 12:6-8 describes eight gifts: prophecy, serving, teaching, exhorting, giving, leading, and mercy. 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 lists nine manifestations of the Spirit: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues. Verse 28 adds eight appointments: apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healings, helps, administrations, and tongues. 1 Peter 4:11 mentions only two gifts: speaking and serving,

Mopping1We know that every believer has the Spirit of God (Rom 8:9; Eph 1:13-14), that “we have gifts that differ” (Rom 12:6), that to “each one is given a manifestation of the Spirit” (1 Cor 12:7), and that “each one has received a special gift” (1 Pet 4:10). We also know that while identifying one’s spiritual gifts(s) with certainty is not required and may not even be entirely possible, the Spirit’s giving and manifesting is not at all irrelevant. These gifts are designed to play an important role in the church. After all, they are deliberately tasked means designed to work toward one vital end: “so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Pet 4:11b). If their purpose is His glory, then ignoring them is not an option.

But if a person is, for example, fairly certain that they have been gifted with teaching, then what are they to do when faced with a different ministry opportunity having little or nothing to do with teaching? What if there is a financial need in the church that the “teacher” is aware of and has the means to help resolve. Can he claim that he is only to function as a teacher, and hasn’t got the gift of helps? Does this absolve him of any responsibility toward the needy family? 2 Corinthians 8:14 describes the purpose of abundance as for supplying needs (without any reference to spiritual gifting, by the way). Paul adds in 9:8 a broader purpose statement for abundance: “…always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” Every good deed implies that one’s work and service is to extend beyond personal spiritual gifting, though a case could be made that all gifting – including God’s provision of material wealth – is spiritual gifting.

Consider that in 1 Timothy 3:2, Paul requires that an overseer should be above reproach. If an overseer perceived himself as gifted only as a teacher or a leader, and was unwilling to push a mop or lend a helping hand where needed, I doubt he could ever be considered above reproach – in fact, he would likely encounter quite a bit of reproach. Further, one could question whether that overseer could be an effective teacher or leader without a readiness to help, to serve, to administer. Evidently, there is interplay among the gifts, and that shouldn’t at all be surprising. After all, they work together for the same purpose: His glory.

 If the goal is His glory, then at every opportunity we should be ready to step in and use whatever resources He has given in order to meet the need of the moment. Remember Paul’s example in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23: “…I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.” If Paul was willing to do whatever was needed in his evangelistic efforts, then what about us in our efforts to serve in the body? Are we entirely available for God’s use, or will we only answer the call when particular needs arise? Have we become so introspective that we are crippled for all but the narrowest of tasks? That paralysis wouldn’t seem compatible with “adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:17), would it?

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