by Jared Stewart-Ginsburg
Last week’s blog post focused on identifying spiritual gifts in your child(ren). This week, our focus is using them together as a family.
by Allison Hendrix
My Circle members and I were recently discussing how to bring refreshment to a group of exhausted women at our children’s school. They had been pouring countless hours into some fund-raising events and looked completely spent. “I know! Let’s each make ALL of the women a meal so that they can have dinners for the next 10 days,” suggested a friend.
My mouth hung open as I did the math. Do I need to make 6 meals when I dread getting dinner for my own family on the table every night? I mean, it is a brilliant way to serve them because they have been away from their families for nights on end, and it would bless their husbands and children, but…
I listened as the excitement escalated and they got each other going. “I already know what I am going to make! This is going to be so much fun.” “I just saw this recipe in Cooking Light over the weekend. I can’t wait to try it!” “I’m going to make my grandmother’s casserole with homemade bread.”
I felt myself sinking into my chair. What’s wrong with me? Ironically, I was the one who helped name these ladies as needing refreshment so my heart was there, but Dear Jesus, there must be an easier way. I had quietly fallen back on the idea of making six dozen cookies solely because it involved a giant bowl of cookie dough which did appeal to me, when a new plan arose: “why don’t we just have the ladies come to one of our homes next Thursday for ‘a meeting’ and we will surprise them with a morning of refreshment? We will each interpret that our own way.”
Oh yes! I am back in the game. My friend with the gift of hospitality immediately offered her home. Everybody else chimed in. The following Thursday was unforgettable. Every woman in our Circle used their special gifts and unique personality to offer rejuvenation to these recipients. As our tired friends sat down for this surprise brunch, we were overflowing with joy because we were each serving in accordance with our unique design. That is the outcome of using your spiritual gifts: it does not feel like work. We were fulfilled, not drained.
A spiritual gift is a free gift that comes to you through the Holy Spirit upon salvation to meet the needs surrounding you. It comes from the word charismata meaning “grace, talent from God.” So we did not earn it. It is a gift meant to serve others with for the benefit of the body (Romans 12:6-8). The beauty in discovering your spiritual gifts is it allows you to focus and stay in your lane. Your lane is that place where your personality, natural talents, and spiritual gifts come together; that place where you are most effective.
Our unique design shapes not only the lens with which we see a situation but how we respond to it. When we come together to serve as ONE body, needs are met on a myriad of levels. It is a beautiful thing when we realize we are not in competition with one another and more effective as a whole.
So how can we discover our Spiritual Gifts?
1. Pray – Ask God to help you see your gifts at work.
2. Pay Attention – What energizes you and makes you come alive? What comes easily for you that others find challenging? What are you effective at?
3. Listen – What feedback do you get from others, particularly those who know you well?
4. Take a Spiritual Gifts Test – It’s obviously not tried and true, but is a tangible exercise to help you narrow it down.
5. Read Up – Some of the gifts listed in the Bible are serving, teaching, giving, encouraging, mercy, organizing, prayer, wisdom, discernment, hospitality, leadership, administration, the list goes on. Read up on some of them in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 1 Corinthians 12:28-30, Romans 12:3-13, Ephesians 4:1-11, and 1 Peter 4:10-11.
6. Brainstorm and Start Serving – Once you have an idea what your gifts and your child(ren)’s gifts might be, brainstorm as a family to find ways to use them. Practice and sharpen them. If you want to quickly discover your spiritual gifts, start serving and you will quickly learn what you and your kids are and are not effective at.
You have an invaluable combination of personality, natural talent, and spiritual gifts. You are one of a kind, created on purpose with purpose. Enjoy being you.