Whose gift is it?

Words by Colonel Jostein Nielsen.

When I am teaching on the subject of spiritual gifts, I have on rare occasion used questionnaires which are created to help people to find their gifting. The reason why it has become rare, is that I think that their usefulness is limited. The questionnaires are good because they demystify the subject; and they are good because they contribute to keeping a focus on an important resource available for all Christians. 

However, I am afraid that they can limit the Spirit’s work in and through us by focus on “What is your spiritual gift?” Because is a spiritual gift really my gift? 

Yes, I know that Peter said to the lame man:

“Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
Acts 3:6

But I am convinced that Peter did not consider it to be his gift. He was 100% dependent on the Spirit. 

When people ask me if I have any spiritual gift, I prefer to answer “No”. Because even though people have been healed as a result of prayer, it has nothing to do with me. If it had, it should have happened every time I prayed for healing. Spiritual gifts belong to the Spirit. 

Paul saw several people healed when he prayed for them, but I am sure even he many times did not see the result he wanted – I am sure he had prayed for Timothy’s stomach trouble without success (1). He had also health issues himself(2) – and even though I believe his ‘thorn in the flesh’ refers to persecution, his prayers were answered with: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (3) 

PauI prophesied, but even so, he was aware of the limitations:

We know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end.
1 Cor 13:9-10

The perfect is yet to come, but that did not stop Paul, nor should it stop us searching for the gifts, because: 

‘Manna’ for today:

The Spirit is perfect, and it is in him we move.

(1) 1 Timothy 5:23 
(2) Galatians 4:13-15 
(3) 2 Corinthians 12:9