We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:6-8)
When I was in my early twenties, I was going through a verbally abusive marriage, working full time, and putting pressure on myself to get an A in Chemistry at Cleveland State to prove to my husband that I wasn’t stupid.
I was blessed with a family friend, Hays Watkins, who was CEO and Chairman of the Board of the C&O railroad and its mergers. After running an erranding downtown Cleveland, Hays ran up from behind me with energy and a warm smile on his face. He gave me time and encouragement to finish college, a fete that no one in my family had accomplished. Hays demonstrated his three spiritual gifts of leadership, giving, and encouragement that day. In those few minutes I felt God’s love.
In this passage, God first talks about the gift of prophesying. This gift is predicting the future, but it is also the ability to interpret God’s Word to make His will known, stirring the heart. Perhaps Hays also had the gift of prophesying. It was God’s will for me to finish college because He provided resources, a free tutor and funds.
This passage also tells us about the gifts of teaching, encouraging, contributing (giving), leadership, and showing mercy. 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Peter 4, and Ephesians 4 tell us of other spiritual gifts: having God’s wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in tongues, interpreting tongues, and hospitality.
Today’s Scripture tells us to use our gift(s) generously, diligently, and cheerfully, not to leave it (them) wrapped up. If you prophesy, don’t wait until you understand the whole Bible, prophesy on the part that you do understand. If you encourage, create opportunities to encourage; if you give, give as much as you can because God will replenish your coffers; if you lead, lead as Christ did – be willing to give your life to the sheep entrusted you. If you show mercy, show it like God does, happily and with oodles of love. Our gifts should be used often to love and live for God.