In this current series about the foundations for my God Buddy concept, one of the surprises of my journey was realizing I had spiritual gifts and abilities I did not expect. At first, I wondered where those came from and why they appeared when they did.
But then, I learned that God gives us all these gifts, we just need to recognize and use them.
Let me first explain the difference between spiritual gifts and natural abilities.
Spiritual Gift or Natural Talent?
According to this article titled How to Identify and Effectively Use Your Spiritual Gifts, a spiritual gift is a God-given ability, distributed to individual Christians by the Holy Spirit that allows him/or her to work through their lives to help the church execute its mission on earth.
The article describes natural talents as the physical abilities to do special things such as musical ability, carpentry, mechanical aptitude, and artistic skills.
So while spiritual gifts are God-given abilities to do certain things, natural talents are the vehicle through which spiritual gifts can be used. For example, a Christian vocalist may have the spiritual gift of evangelism being expressed through the vehicle of musical talent.
According to the Apostle Paul, every person has spiritual gifts and we are all gifted differently. Paul taught, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us… let [us] use [them] in proportion to [our] faith,” (Romans 12:6).
Gifts Come From The Holy Spirit
As I explained in my last post, Understanding Who and Whose You Are, my growth as a godly man really began once I understood my identity in Christ. The growth showed itself through the use of these spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit.
“The Holy Spirit illuminates the minds of people, makes us yearn for God, and takes spiritual truth and makes it understandable to us.”–Billy Graham
So with all humility, let me explain some of the spiritual gifts I discovered along the way. With credit to the Spiritual Gifts Test website, I will use some of their descriptions of these spiritual gifts. The site includes a free Spiritual Gifts Assessment and describes many other gifts in which you may identify.
The Gift of Administration
A couple of years after I began my involvement in our men’s group, the then-leader decided to step away from that position. Since I’m married to a wonderfully organized woman, I desired to see the group plan-ahead more than it had in the past and felt I could help.
Definition: The Greek word for the spiritual gift of administration is kubernesis which is a unique term that refers to a shipmaster or captain. The literal meaning is “to steer,” or “to rule or govern.” It carries the idea of someone who guides, organizes, directs, and implements plans in the various ministries of the Church. This gift is goal- or task-oriented and is concerned with details.
I wanted to help with the organization of our activities and offered to create a schedule of our outings, spring retreat, and Bible studies to communicate out to the guys.
After all, how hard could it be to put together a schedule and send an email to everyone before we finished the current study? Well, that unexpectedly led to even more leadership of the group.
The Gift of Leadership
After the departure of the prior leader, we also needed someone to facilitate the weekly gatherings. I don’t remember exactly how or when the “torch was passed” to me but I soon had the responsibility handed over to me. I quickly realized that I needed to recruit some of my buddies to help form the new Men’s Ministry leadership team.
Definition: The Greek word for the spiritual gift of leadership is proistemi which means to lead, to assist, to protect and to care for others.
The gift of leadership is found in Romans 12:8 sandwiched between the gifts of giving and of mercy to show it is associated with caring for others. It is more people-oriented than task-oriented since they care for people and relationships more directly.
The Holy Spirit gives the spiritual gift of leadership to some to care for people and lead them into a deeper relationship with Christ and with each other. People with this gift help others grow in their spiritual walk with Jesus. They also go to great lengths to protect those under their care and are well-equipped to lead through crisis situations.
This gift of leadership became particularly useful when our church navigated through a change in sr. pastor and decision about same-sex marriage. I fielded many calls and emails from guys in our church who were looking to me to understand all sides of these issues.
The Gift of Teaching
I would never have guessed that I’d someday teach our Saturday AM Bible studies. Heck, I barely survived helping my wife teach 3rd and 4th grade Sunday School!
Somehow though, the Holy Spirit found a way to teach me how to teach.
Definition: The Greek word for those with the spiritual gift of teaching is didaskalos. which means to teach, instruct, instill doctrine, explain, and expound. Those with this gift love to study the Word of God for extended periods of time.
Teachers are to be stewards of every word that comes out of their mouths but the greater responsibility is to be stewards of the Word of God. Teachers are entrusted with effectively communicating what the Bible says, what it means, and how we as followers of Jesus Christ are to apply it to our lives here and now.
It carries a heavy responsibility in the church. James 3:1 warns, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
Honestly, I’m still in learning mode but my understanding of how the Bible applies to my life continually improves. I have also learned how to navigate through the varying viewpoints of the group and the myriad of studies and commentaries available to us.
In fact, we had a situation recently in which the author of our study made comments that conflicted with our church’s viewpoints on women as pastors and elders. In my early years leading the group, I may have just decided on my own how to proceed but I now gather the opinions of our men’s leadership team to help communicate our position to the guys.
I guess this showed the growth of the spiritual gift of leadership.
The Gift of Exhortation (Encouragement)
There are many examples of exhortation and encouragement in the Scriptures, including Paul and Barnabas (whose name means “Son of Encouragement” . See Acts 4:36). These two are both described as encouragers in my post, Three Relationships Every Man Needs.
Definition: The spiritual gift of exhortation is often called the “gift of encouragement.” The Greek word for this gift is parakaleo which means to beseech, exhort, call upon, to encourage and to strengthen.
This gift became critical as I raised my own sons, as minister to the men at our church, and in my professional career.
The Gift of Writing
Early in my business career (in the days before email), I often received my memos back from my boss with corrections in red ink all over them. I was not a very good writer at that time and needed to learn to be more concise and clear in my communication.
Throughout the years though leading our men’s group, I began to write a weekly “eMale” of the upcoming men’s group activities, Bible verses for our upcoming study, and encouraging words of wisdom or manly topic.
Although I still have a lot of room for improvement, doing this weekly email helped me learn to write better and also my thoughts that eventually led to starting this God Buddy blog.
The God Buddy Principle
It’s often said that when you find your passion, it no longer feels like work. Over the years, discovering these spiritual gifts has helped me realize and follow one of my life-passions to help men become better men.
I suggest you consider engaging with a guy you admire or someone who just seems gifted in a certain area to help you discover your spiritual gifts and grow those particular skills.
Of course, our goal is to become more like Jesus Christ since He is the Only One with all of the spiritual gifts.
But as believers, we must lean on the Holy Spirit to reveal our own spiritual gifts so we can use them to serve others and to serve God.
Do you have any suggestions on how to use your God Buddy to discover your spiritual gifts?