Monday February 20
God, the Sovereign Giver of the Spiritual Gifts
It is not we who decide what gifts to have. The Greek word for the gifts of the Spirit is charismata-they are gifts of grace, distributed and given by God Himself. We do not earn them by our status, our position, our honor, our education, or our spiritual performance. They are gifts, freely given out of love so that we can fulfill the task God has assigned us to do.
Read Ephesians 4:7. We often think that the Holy Spirit is the One who bestows spiritual gifts. The apostle Paul also connects Jesus Christ with the giving of the gifts. How is Jesus involved in the giving of the gifts?
Paul says that the grace of Christ secured the right to give us gifts. But it is the Holy Spirit who distributes them to the members of the church. Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and believe in Him will be equipped by the Holy Spirit with spiritual gifts “as He wills” (1 Cor. 12:11, NASB). The bestowal of the gifts is God’s sovereign decision.
Innate ability as such is not a spiritual gift. Spiritual gifts are not the same as natural talents that a person might have developed through intense education. Many non-Christians are blessed with such providential talents. While every good thing and perfect gift is ultimately from God (James 1:17), God has decided to equip His believers with special gifts in order to bless the lives of other Christians and to build up His church. God can also use a natural talent for that purpose when the person acknowledges that even such a talent ultimately comes from God and then prayerfully and submissively dedicates that talent to the Lord’s work.
What does Paul tell his readers in 1 Corinthians 12:14-31 about the distribution of the gifts? Why is this perspective so important for understanding how spiritual gifts function in the church?
The Holy Spirit is the one who distributes the gifts according to His wisdom and will. Since He loves us and knows best how we can serve Him most efficiently, we do not need to be envious of others and their gifts. To envy other gifts is a sign of ingratitude toward God and of doubting His wisdom in distributing His gifts.
What gifts has God granted to members of your church? What message can you take away from the fact that different people have different gifts?