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Illustrations Of The Spiritual Gifts

That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
–John 17:21

The Bible says that God has given every Christian a spiritual gift. We have many different ministries, but one gift. I don’t think you will ever find real meaning and joy in your life until you discover your gift and start using it. Yesterday, we looked at the seven spiritual gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8: prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, leadership, giving, and mercy. Today, I will illustrate these gifts.

Let’s imagine a group of people are assembled in a room because they have decided to start a new church. They are discussing the question, “What is the most important thing to have in the church?” One person says, “I think what we need is in-depth Bible studies.” What gift does that person have? Teaching. Somebody else says, “What we need are generous programs of financial assistance to missionaries and other ministries.” What gift would that be? That person has the gift of giving. Somebody else says, “What we need are well-prepared sermons exposing sin, proclaiming righteousness, and warning of judgment to come.” What gift is that? Prophecy. Somebody else says, “What we need in our church is practical assistance to people in the church and the community who have needs.” That is the gift of serving. Somebody else says, “We need to offer personal counsel and encouragement to members, assisting them in applying Scripture to their daily lives.” What would that gift be? Exhortation. Somebody else says, “What our church really needs is to be a smooth-running organization so that every aspect of the church will be carried out decently and in order.” What gift is that? Leadership. Finally, somebody says, “What we need is special outreach and concern for the feelings of individuals and the readiness to meet their emotional needs.” What gift is that? Mercy.

Or let’s imagine there is a dinner party going on. Around the table there are seven people, each representing one of the spiritual gifts. The hostess walks in carrying a tray of desserts, but she trips and the desserts spill onto the floor. How would people with each of the differing gifts react to that fiasco? Somebody with the gift of prophecy would say, “That is what happens when you are not careful.” Somebody with the gift of serving would say, “Let me help you clean it up.” Somebody with the gift of teaching would say, “The reason the tray fell was it was too heavy on one side and was out of balance.” Somebody with the gift of exhortation would say, “Next time let’s serve the dessert with the meal to solve the problem.” A person with the gift of giving would say, “I will be happy to buy a new dessert.” A person with the gift of mercy would say, “Don’t feel bad. That could happen to anybody.” And a person with the gift of leading would say, “Jim, you get the mop. Sue, please help pick it up. And Mary, let’s start preparing a new dessert.” These are some examples that help us understand the spiritual gifts.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Using Your Spiritual Gift” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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