Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


If you’ve been around church a while, then undoubtedly someone has asked you to take a spiritual gifts test or asked you what your “spiritual gifts” are.  This “test” tells you how God has specifically gifted you as a Believer to help do Kingdom of God kinda stuff.  The results are usually framed in language through one of several “spiritual gifts sets” listed in the Bible and therefore will most likely tell you is that you have some variety of the 3 most famous Bible “giftings” lists…

which since I didn’t feel like trying to figure out how to do html and make the chart myself, I gaffed and modified slightly one from an article on wikipedia here.

Spiritual Gifts
Ministry Callings      
 Spiritual Gifts
Romans 12:6-8
Ephesians 4:11
1 Corinthians 12:1-14
  • Prophecy
  • Serving
  • Teaching
  • Encouragement
  • Giving
  • Leading
  • Showing mercy (compassion)
  • Apostolic
  • Prophetic
  • Evangelical
  • Pastoral
  • Teaching
  • Wisdom
  • Knowledge
  • Discerning various spirits
  • Speaking in tongues
  • Interpretation of tongues
  • Prophecy
  • Faith
  • Working of miracles
  • Healing

If you really want to take one of these tests to find out your mix, just google it, there’s a gazillion of them.

However, as clear as the Bible is that “gifts from God” come to Believers in one of the above forms, those same tests rarely ever ask you about your abilities or skill set.  They separate “spiritual gifts” and “talents”.  One is ultra-spiritual, the other is “normal”.

But this is not true.

I was reading Exodus the other day and notice how what God says about craftsman as they built the tabernacle or tent they used to worship God….

(Exodus 35:30–35)
“Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,  and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—  to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,  to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts.  And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others.  He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.”

Therefore… music and art and photography and an eye for design and craftsmanship and jewelers and an ability to build stuff and an ability to speak lots of languages and the capacity to crunch numbers and so much more can be called and are “gifts” from God.

So, when you’re looking for how God has gifted people to serve in ministry, don’t look to 3 new testament lists only. Open your eyes. There are more ways that God wants to use people. Cuz the truth is…

  • THOSE GIFT LISTS ARE NOT EXHAUSTIVE.  God has and does gift us in lots of ways that are outside of those three popular lists. God surely can and does use those spiritual gifts.  But he uses other stuff too, namely those things that are most often labeled “talents”.  But they are gifts from God for the benefit of the Kingdom of God when we submit them to the Spirit’s leading just the same. 
  • WE DISCRIMINATE THOSE LISTS AND WE NEED TO STOP.  If you read the lists again, some people will say that God no longer does some of those things through people any more.  Hmmm, that’s interesting…. and false in my opinion. We need to open our eyes to ways God is working that don’t fit the test results box we are comfortable with.  
  • WE NEED TO CHALLENGE PEOPLE TO CONSIDER ALL ASPECTS OF THEIR PERSONALITY, TALENTS, AND ABILITIES AS REFLECTIVE OF GOD’S UNIQUE DESIGN FOR THEM.  God wants to do stuff in and through people. They just need to hear from those in leadership, that they can be used by God outside of the “spiritual gifts” box they are so unsure about anyway. 

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