Your Gift And Your Ministry

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly.

–Romans 12:6

One of the things that always puzzled me about spiritual gifts is this: Why are there different lists of gifts? There is one in Romans 12, one in 1 Corinthians 12, and one in Ephesians 4, and none of the lists match up. Was Paul just having a bad day? How do you explain these three lists?

Years ago, Don Crossland explained to me that there are three different categories of spiritual gifts. We see them mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6. First of all, there are gifts. Verse 4 says, “There are a variety of gifts, but the same Spirit.” The word for “gifts” in this verse, “charismaton,” refers to the gift every Christian receives when they are baptized with the Holy Spirit. Paul listed these gifts in Romans 12:6-8: “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”

Let’s briefly define these seven gifts:

  • Prophecy: convicting people of sin and their need for a right relationship with God
  • Service: meeting the practical needs of other people
  • Teaching: presenting and verifying truth
  • Exhortation: giving practical counsel from Scripture to help people with their problems
  • Giving: making money in order to give to God’s work
  • Leadership: organizing to achieve God’s purpose
  • Mercy: empathizing with the hurts of other people

The Bible says if you are a Christian, you have one of those gifts. That is the first category. The second is ministries. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:5, “There are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.” A ministry is a door of opportunity that God opens for you to exercise your spiritual gift. While your gift never changes, your ministries can change throughout your life. Ephesians 4:11 lists those ministries: “He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.” Whenever you take the gospel to a place that has not heard it before, that is the role of an apostle. When you speak to God’s own people, that is the role of a prophet. When you speak to non-Christians, that is the role of an evangelist. During your life, you may have a variety of ministries through which to exercise your spiritual gift.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “You and Your Spiritual Gift” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

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