Finding Your Family's Spiritual Gifts
Recently my family and I were talking about differences and what makes us unique, and our conversation quickly turned to our different spiritual gifts.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote that each person is created with their own abilities. When combined with faith, these gifts come to life, growing even stronger because they’re connected to their power source (Jesus). As an adult, I’ve taken classes to help me find and grow my spiritual gifts, and I’ve felt the excitement that comes from an experience that perfectly aligns my abilities with a service opportunity. I want my kids to feel that, too. I want them to embrace what makes them different from other members of our family and become all that God made them to be.
In order to come up with a plan to help my kids, I’ve consulted with children’s pastors and friends. The following list is just a few things we can do as a family to help not just the kids, but all of us discover and learn even more about our gifts and how to use them:
- Ask God. Before he ascended, Jesus promised his disciples that they would soon receive the Spirit who would gift them with abilities to help the church grow. After he ascended, the disciples prayed. For days they sat together and asked for the Spirit to come. If we want to discover our gifts, we need to start the same way. In addition, we can read in our Bibles about other gifts that God provided people with in the early church and throughout history, gaining ideas and inspiration for our own part of his story.
- Make a list of your talents. So often we realize that our gifts have always been there, just not being used to their full potential. We were born to reveal God to the world through the way we look, and what we practice. He’s already put gifts in you. Maybe you’re naturally a great writer, a great sympathizer, or a musician. Write down all the areas that you’re drawn to and ask God to provide power for you to grow in these areas.
- Try something new. God almost never calls people to stay in their comfort zone. Often, it’s when we stretch and take hold of new experiences and challenges that we discover more about our calling and our gifts. Think of how Peter felt when he saw Jesus walking on water. He must have been afraid, but he did it--he stepped out of his boat to meet Christ on the water. Sure, he slipped once he was out there, but Jesus pulled him up, and he learned that he could do something that others can only dream of. If you step out, you’ll be amazed by what you can do as well.
- Ask each other. One of my gifts is communication, but I never knew that until I started college. I remember being terrified to write papers. Then my professors called it out in me. They commended me on my writing and encouraged me to take more classes to grow in that gift. Now you can’t get me to stop writing. As a parent, you probably notice a lot about your kids' talents or personality traits that make you stand back in awe. Call it out in them and ask them what they see in return. They may see something in you that you didn’t know was there as well.
- Fill up your tank. No matter how nice your car is, you can’t drive anywhere on an empty tank. The same is true for using your spiritual gifts. If you aren’t connecting to the source of power, you’ll burn out. To connect, try prayer, reading your Bible, and spending time with other believers who build you up.
It’s awesome to find your gifts, to use them, and to realize why God made you the way he did. I've had a lot of fun learning and developing mine, and I’m excited to equip my kids as well. However, Paul also issues a warning to believers about using your talents. In 1st Corinthians 13 Paul makes a list of a bunch of spiritual gifts. Then he writes that if you don’t have love, none of it matters. You’re just making noise. Love is the difference between singing a song and leading worship. It turns materials into masterpieces. So let all that you do be done in love for others and love for Jesus. Once this happens, we’ll all grow stronger as the Body of Christ.
If you’ve discovered your gifts, or your children have, share them in comments below along with how you’ve been using them. I’d love to know!