In our natural life each of us enjoys various talents and gifts. We develop some very well. And some we don’t have the chance to. I could be a very gifted person in music, but without the proper training and education, my talent wouldn’t have the chance to develop. Even if I did develop it, I would still have to decide how I should use it. Should I use it just to gain money and fame? To entertain people? Or to help others? These aspects of having a gift are not confined by the gift itself, rather by the purpose and value it is used for.
Gifts are given to us by God, for us to steward and develop for the benefit of His Kingdom, to serve Him and His people. That is why Paul mentioned a better way.
The better way is love:
1 Cor 13:1-14:1 [NIV]
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.
Finally, let’s look at a passage that states clearly how gifts serve the growth of the body, the end of which is to bear spiritual fruits.
Eph 4:7-16 [NIV]
7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.”
9(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
This is _Part 4_ in the series Spiritual Gifts and Fruits. To continue with this series, click on Pt 5. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series, Pt 1, Pt 2, and Pt 3.
Photo credit: NixieMichelle