Some older but interesting statistics show that some born-again Christians might be a bit confused in regard to what the Bible says about spiritual gifts. According to the Barna Research Group, Ltd, “… the percentage who say they have heard of spiritual gifts but do not believe God has given them one jumped from 4 percent in 1995 to 21 percent in 2000. When asked to identify spiritual gifts, only 30 percent of born-again adults listed gifts named in the Bible. Other respondents named gifts not found in the Bible, for example, a sense of humor, listening, patience, a good personality, friendliness, poetry, church attendance, and being “likeble.” Nearly half (46 percent) were either unaware of gifts, claimed they did not have one, or could not identify their gifts.” (Source: Barna Research Group, Ltd. quoted in Discipleship Journal, July/August 2001, p.14. – for more current stats (2009) check out: http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/12-faithspirituality/211-survey-describes-the-spiritual-gifts-that-christians-say-they-have )
I think that some of those newly listed gifts (sense of humor, “like-ability”, etc,) are not Spiritual Gifts in that they aren’t used to serve the body so much as the individual. A true Spiritual Gift is a gift that you can’t wait to get to church to share with others. It is the fresh baked cookies shipped to a college dorm room. It might have one student’s name on it… but it is earmarked for sharing.
Paul had this attitude: “For I long to see you that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.” Pauls says that when he gets to Rome he can’t wait to unpack his suitcase so he can show them what he brought them. He in turn would be blessed with what God had given them to share. The faith of everyone would be strengthened as a result.
Maybe the reason more people don’t like attending church is because they feel like they don’t have anything to share with others when they get there. At least 25% of the church feels they are gift-less. Who wants to go to the party empty handed?
Take time this week to visit the major passages on gifts: Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, & 1 Peter 4. If you are a follower of Jesus you have been granted a gift by the Holy Spirit… given to you so that you might help build up the body of Christ. And it is a gift that goes beyond personality and temperment…
Go ahead… Open your gift! But remember to share!