"Every Kinda People"
I heard the 1978 hit song, "Every Kinda People," by Robert Palmer on the radio and it made me think of all the people it takes to be the body of Christ. The lyrics are: "Ooh, it takes every kind of people To make what life's about, yeah. Every kind of people To make the world go 'round". I thought about how many years I wondered what my gifts were. I remember when my daughter was young she said, "Mommy, Daddy sings, I sing, Ivey sings - everybody but you." I told her to be thankful! I knew singing was not a gift but I really didn't know what my gift was.
Sometimes we are so worried about what gifts we do not have that we neglect to recognize what gifts we have been given. Paul addressed this issue with the church in Corinth because the comparison of spiritual gifts began causing division in the church. God gives us the gift, we are nothing without it. I love an illustration I heard about all gifts being needed. Mentally step into a dark room, full of people. We each have a flashlight. We can shine our flashlights, or, we can watch others shine theirs. When we are watching others we may think their light is stronger and our battery is not as strong. If everyone is worrying about comparing themselves to others and they don't turn on their flashlight, the room won't get brighter. But, if everyone turns on their flashlights, at the same time, the combination of light will overcome the darkness and light up the whole room. And so it is with our Body of Christ. What a wonderful place if we all use our spiritual gifts!
About 25 years ago I began to look at spiritual gifts and study them. I took a spiritual gift test and learned my top four were faith, mercy, leadership and evangelism. I did not get the leadership until I thought about it for a while. All I could think about was not wanting to speak in front of people! I began to see when I started Sunday school classes, ladies groups and when I led women's retreats, what made me a strong leader was being Holy Spirit led. The team was picked by the Holy Spirit - me being intentional to what the Holy Spirit was telling me. My gift of faith helped me to let my team be picked by the Holy Spirit and then allowed me to trust them to do the job they had been chosen for. They knew their job and they got it done without me. This allowed them to use their gifts to get the job done. I believe once we identify our gifts we begin to see how God has been preparing us for using those particular gifts. I would have never believed "evangelism" but then I realized I loved sharing what God had done in my life. That came easy for me. I was beginning to see my purpose in the Body of Christ.
To discover your gifts you must be a Christian and you must believe in spiritual gifts. You must be willing to do the work necessary to use your spiritual gifts and you must pray for God's guidance. 1 Peter 4: 10, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms."
Through the years I have watched my spiritual gifts change. Mine are now discernment, leadership and exhortation. According to 1 Corinthians 12: 10, discernment is the gift of "distinguishing between spirits. Perceiving the true character of people and the source and meaning of spiritual manifestations." The gift of leadership is the God given ability to "set goals in accordance with God's purpose for the future and to communicate these goals to others in such a way that they voluntarily and harmoniously work together to accomplish those goals for the glory of God." I could look at my life and see examples of those first two gifts but the third one took me a while. It is the gift of exhortation which is the God given ability "to minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement and counsel to other members of the Body in such a way that they feel helped and healed." I did not see it but it was right in front of me. My writing! And now speaking! Sharing what God has done in my life is my passion. Isn't it so cool that God gives us a passion that leads us to our gifts! We just have to stay in tune with Him!
While we all have different gifts, they still come from the same Spirit! They are God given and we are to use them. 1 Corinthians 12: 4, "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. It really does take every kinda people!