I believe I first took a spiritual gift inventory nearly thirty years ago. I discovered then, and have had it reconfirmed since, that my primary spiritual gifts are administration, leadership and teaching. What are yours? Do you know?
Psalm 24:1a says, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”. I take this to mean all that we have in this life is a “gift” from God. This includes not only our material possessions, but also the abilities we have been given. The Apostle Paul writes about these abilities in the New Testament, calling them gifts from the Holy Spirit (See Romans 12:3-8, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:11-16 and I Peter 4:10-11). These spiritual gifts, found in each follower of Jesus, are given for the purpose of building up the Body of Christ (the church), so that through the church we can be engaged in God’s mission.
I believe persons often have working gifts and waiting gifts. The working gifts are those they’ve discerned and put to use. Someone with the working gift of evangelism finds ways to share faith in Christ with others, inviting them to know that same faith. Someone with the working gift of service is always helping others.
Waiting gifts, which might also be called “latent” gifts, are those gifts and abilities we have not yet discerned or fully developed. They sit within us filled with potential, just waiting to be called forth and used. Someone with the waiting gift of teaching may have often felt the nudge to teach, or had others comment on their clear ability to explain things, but has never put that gift into practice.
I would like to think that encouragement and hospitality were two of my waiting gifts, that with intention and learning from others, I have been able to grow and use. What are your waiting gifts? How are you learning to use them?
It’s possible today to take a spiritual gift inventory online. I’m providing a link to a couple such inventories here:
Completing one of these inventories will give you a basis from which to try out your gifts. Others who know you well are also often able to name the gifts that reside within you. Why not ask a trusted friend in Christ what they believe your spiritual gifts are?
Once identified, there is no better way to be sure of our gifts than to try them out in ministry. Part of our stewardship as followers of Jesus is to understand how we have been gifted by the Holy Spirit, and then to use those gifts for benefit of God’s mission. When we fail to realize the full potential of our gifts, we diminish not only our own spiritual growth and service, but our part in building up the church to carry forth God’s mission.