God calls Christians to serve Him with the gifts that He has given them. Every Christian has at least one and often more than one spiritual gift, or special talent or ability for serving in Christ’s church (Romans 12:3b, 6a). Some Christians have strong spiritual discernment and vision and an ability to speak biblical truth into the lives of others, a gift known as “prophecy” (Romans 12:6b). Other Christians are very sensitive to the different needs of others around them and love to serve others in many ways, a a gift called “ministry” (Romans 12:7a). Another set of Christians has a unique ability to understand God’s Word and effectively explain and apply it to the lives of others, a gift known as “teaching” (Romans 12:7b). Some Christians are really good at encouraging other believers; they have the spiritual gift of “exhortation” (Romans 12:8a). Still more are equipped with abilities to give more generously and easily than others, to lead groups of believers, or to show mercy on those who are suffering (Romans 12:8b).
All of these are just the gifts mentioned in Romans 12. Paul also gives us lists of spiritual gifts in Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12, and 1 Peter 4. These three lists overlap some but not entirely. This suggests that these lists are probably not exhaustive; there may be other spiritual gifts like music, caring for young children, and more that Paul did not discuss. The main point is that God has given every Christian one or more gifts in varying degrees. Therefore, we should use our gifts to serve in the Lord’s church with joy and diligence. And because theses are gifts from the Lord, abilities that we did nothing to earn, we should not be proud or brag about what we can do for the Lord’s people (Romans 12:3a). Instead, we should recognize that all Christians are members of the same body of Christ, members who have different yet equally important functions in serving the Lord (Romans 12:4-5). May we all know our spiritual gifts and find places to humbly and happily use them in serving Jesus and His church.
The Text (Romans 12:3-8)
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Questions to Think About
- Why do you think that Paul reminds us to be humble about our spiritual gifts in verses 3-5 before giving us examples of what the different gifts are and how they should be used in verses 6-8?
- Do some spiritual gifts seem to get more glory or attention than others? If so, which ones and why? How do we fix that problem?
- Do you have any spiritual gifts from this list in Romans? How about from the lists in Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12, or 1 Peter 4? Do you have any other talents outside of these lists that you enjoy using to serve the Lord?
- When Christians are only attending church services and not serving with their gifts, how does that affect their walk with the Lord and their relationships with other believers?