Nearly every elementary school these days has a “gifted-and-talented” program. Kids who seem to learn quickly get to leave the mainstream at certain points and be stretched with wider vistas. On IQ tests, they score 115 or higher. Their parents, meanwhile, proudly tell others how bright their son or daughter is.
Did you know God has a “gifted” program for his people? And not just for the smart few. Not just for super-saints. Not just for the clergy. If we can take Scriptures such as Romans 12:6 and 1 Peter 4:10 at face value, all of us who love and follow Christ have been gifted by the Holy Spirit with special graces. Maybe we just didn’t know it.
The Greek word used in these passages is not the ordinary doron or dorea, such as what the three Wise Men brought to the Christ Child, or for that matter, the wonderful gift of salvation. It is the entirely different word charisma—literally, a “grace-gift,” or as most translations put it, a “spiritual gift.” This word shows up 17 different times in the New Testament letters.
This gets us into the realm of the miraculous—things we can’t take credit for. Things we didn’t plan or construct on our own. Things the Holy Spirit decides to make happen “so that the church may be built up” (1 Cor. 14:26).
The New Testament gives us at least three major lists of spiritual gifts, as noted in the verses for today. Starting tomorrow, we’ll take a walk through the longest of the three lists, highlighting each gift, showing a biblical example—and then giving a second example of this gift in action in our own time.
As at Christmastime, not everyone gets the same gift. That would be strange, wouldn’t it? And there’s no need to be jealous if someone receives more gifts than you do. These are gifts, remember, not Boy Scout merit badges. We didn’t earn them. We didn’t pay for them. We simply receive them by faith with gratitude.
Welcome to “the gifted class”!