Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
There are some really talented people out there. I’m talking about the “Lebron James” of basketball, the “Steven Spielberg” of directing, the “Gordon Ramsey” of cooking, and the list goes on. Natural talent is the foundation on which hard work and passion can be stacked on top to help achieve “greatness”. Inherent talent is a God-given blessing, but it is a silhouette of spiritual giftedness.
Paul talks about spiritual gifts in at least four passages: Ephesians 4, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and 1 Corinthians 14. From these passages, the spiritual gifts listed are: utterance of wisdom, utterance of knowledge, healing, miracles, prophecy, ability to distinguish between spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues, teaching, helping, administrating, serving, exhorting, contributing in generosity, leadership, and mercy. And distinguished roles: apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers.
All of these spiritual gifts function to build up the body of Christ, to encourage one another for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Corinthians 14). Natural talent does not immediately serve this function. Yes, a worship leader with beautiful singing and skillful playing helps bring the congregation’s hearts into the place of worship. But it can often feel like we are attending a self-centered concert rather than a God-glorifying worship service if all that is present is raw talent. I am not saying that natural talent is bad. What I am saying is that spiritual gifts are better. While natural talent is like a monochrome picture, spiritual gifting is like a brightly saturated image that clearly puts God’s love and glory on display.
That is not say that spiritual gifts provide no room for the lethal injection of human glory. The early Corinthian church suffered from exactly this, using their gifts to leverage themselves over one another, creating division and hierarchy. Lest we deceive ourselves like the people of Corinth, these gifts are not a measure of one’s spirituality or worth. The spiritual gifts are apportioned to each member by the Spirit, flowing from grace (Ephesians 4:7). Who God decides to give prophecy to one or teaching to another is not out of favoritism, because the very definition of grace is that it cannot earned or bought. All the children of God have infinite worth because of the infinite price paid by the blood of Jesus Christ.
What we know is that God apportioned various gifts across the church so that no one person can wear all the hats. Like the body needs both the brain and the pinky toe, so every member is vital to the proper functioning of the body of Christ. Paul even explains that “the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor… that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for another” (1 Corinthians 12:22-25). If a brother receives more, it is for our benefit also, for spiritual gifts are distributed to bring the whole church across the finish line, not just a few. “Pursue love and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts” (1 Corinthians 14:1), but if, in His wisdom, God has entrusted even only one, let us be wise and faithful to use it to the fullest, lest even that is taken away from us (Matthew 25:14-30). Natural talent may agree with the world in: survival of the fittest. But spiritual gifting agrees with God in: survival of the one-est.
To the one who God has wisely entrusted with more gifts, you are not more important than your fellow brother. To the one who God has wisely entrusted with less, you are just as important as the other. Though these gifts are useful in building up the body, there is still a more excellent way. Let love reign in all manifestations of the Spirit. Prophecy and tongues will pass away, yet love will always remain. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples…”, not in the way we preach or teach or even heal miraculously, but “if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).