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St. Paul's Gifts of the Spirit

Updated on October 14, 2013
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Bronwen was a teacher for over forty years. Degrees include School Librarianship, Psycholinguistics and Theology, and Applied Linguistics.

The Choice of Topic: Our Gifts

Recently I was invited to visit a church camp and present an address and workshop on a topic connected with "God Gives Us a Future." The afternoon's study was to commence at 2.00 p.m. and to last for three hours with three speakers. The campers would be divided into three groups and rotate, so that we would each give our one-hour address three times. As the other two speakers chose to speak on the main theme from different aspects, it seemed a good idea for my address to be about identifying our 'Gifts of the Spirit' and our responsibility to grow these gifts so we can use them to the best of our ability in the future.

As English was not the first language of the campers, we needed to send our addresses a week before, so they could be translated for the interpreters.

I'm posting this as I thought my address might be useful for anyone interested in this topic.

What Do We Do With Our Gifts?

I have a gift in this box. I can’t see what’s in it, but a very good friend gave it to me with love and I trust him. I accepted the gift and thanked him.

What is it? (open gift) A plant – what a lovely gift! I’ll keep it on this table and watch it grow.

Oh! Do I need to water it? What will happen if I don’t water it?

Yes, it won’t grow, there won't be any fruit, and it will slowly die.

The gifts of the Spirit are like this plant. God gives them in love, but we need to use them and grow them, or they die.

St. Paul wrote about God’s gifts of the Spirit in three of his Letters. He gives us some gifts for the work of people in the church. Others are personal to help build our character. All our gifts are to be used to help to build up the church.

In Romans 12.6-8, Paul lists some of these gifts of the Spirit.

The Sixteen Game Cards

Prophecy in proportion to our faith

Ministry in serving one another

The Teacher in teaching

The Encourager in encouraging

The One who Contributes in generosity

The Leader with enthusiasm

The One Who Cares with cheerfulness

The Mark of the True Christian one who acts in love

Gifts of the Spirit: Game 1

We have a game to play about these gifts of the Spirit.

You each need 1 of these cards (there are enough for 16 people).

Please read your card and find the person who has the matching half. If you don’t know what it is, you can find most of them in Romans 12.6-8.

When you have a match, talk to your partner about how you could use this gift.

Later you can tell us what you said in your discussion.

The Grace of God and the Gifts of the Spirit

Thank you. Would you come back to your places now, please?

Paul often writes about the Grace of God.

What do you think he means by ‘grace?’

Grace is God’s favour. He favours us by giving us the free gifts of the Spirit.

  • We haven’t earned them
  • we don’t deserve them
  • we can’t pay Him for them

But when we have faith in Jesus and follow Him, God’s Holy Spirit gives them to us.

How Can We Use the Gifts of the Spirit?

I would like each pair to tell us how you think the gift on your cards could be used.

PROPHECY, in proportion to our faith

Who has this one? Can you tell us about this gift?

What does Paul mean by prophecy? He uses this word again in Ephesians 4.11. He says that the gifts God gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists and some pastors. We often think prophets are people who tell us what will happen in the future, but Paul means people who speak out with wisdom and warn us about sin. God gives this gift according to our faith: if we have strong faith in Him, we will receive the gift of prophecy.

MINISTRY, in serving one another

Who had this one? What can you tell us about this gift?

Sometimes we think of ministry as being the work of priests, evangelists and pastors. That is true, but as followers of Jesus Christ, we are given the gift of ministry too. Ministers are all of us who serve and help each other. In Ephesians 4.12 Paul wrote that God gives us the gifts of the Spirit to equip us for ministry and to build up the Church.

THE TEACHER, in teaching

Who had this one? What did you discuss about this gift?

In 1 Corinthians 12.8, Paul wrote that 'God gave the gift of the utterance of knowledge.' Teaching is a gift is so we can share our knowledge of the word of God. He chooses some of us to be Sunday School teachers so we should prepare the lessons the best we can and teach well. Children often remember for the rest of their lives what they learn in Sunday School.

THE ENCOURAGER, in encouraging

Who are the encouragers? What do you know about this gift? Is it important?

We may think that God has not given us any gifts, but Paul has ‘encourager’ on his list. He knows this is an important gift. Other Christians, Priests, Ministers and teachers work hard. They help many people and sometimes feel that no one cares. A word of encouragement or a ‘thank you’ can really help them.

THE ONE WHO CONTRIBUTES, in generosity

Who had this one to discuss? Did you find anything interesting?

We may think that contributing and being generous means we must give more money. That is important, a church cannot work without money. But there are other ways to use this gift. We might contribute some food for a special event, or contribute ideas in discussions and Bible Studies. Paul tells us it is a gift of the Spirit to be generous when we contribute.

THE LEADER, with enthusiasm

Who had to discuss leaders? What did you say about this gift?

Paul writes that leaders in the church should be enthusiastic. Sometimes this is hard when all the preparation, paperwork and recording take so much time and energy. If a person has received the gift of the Spirit to be a leader, perhaps in a Home Group or in some other way, she should do it the best she can, with enthusiasm.

THE ONE WHO CARES, with cheerfulness

This is the last on Paul’s list in Romans 12. Do you think that this is important?

Caring is a gift of the Spirit, especially when it is done cheerfully. There are many ways to care: by welcoming new people, by visiting a sick neighbour, by praying with someone, or by visiting the sick in hospital. People in hospital do not want an unhappy person to visit them! It is a gift to care for others cheerfully.

THE MARK OF THE TRUE CHRISTIAN is one who acts in love

In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul tells us that love is the most important gift of all. We can use our gifts in many ways, but if we do not act in love we only make a big noise about nothing. True Christians base their lives, and how they use their gifts, in ‘faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.’

Simple Equipment, Great Game
Simple Equipment, Great Game | Source

Gifts of the Spirit: Game 2

Now I will give each of you three pieces of paper and a pencil.

I would like you to write on each piece one of the gifts you have seen in someone in this group. It may be

  • teacher
  • leader
  • caring for others
  • cooking
  • visiting sick people
  • arranging flowers in church
  • leading the singing
  • or sharing God’s love in some way.

Now give that paper to that person. Leave them upside down until they have all been given.

Please read the papers you have been given.

You are surprised! Sometimes we do not realize we have a gift, but other people see it in us. That is something to celebrate and to give God thanks.

Note: Some participants had small children with them and I encouraged them to join in. One little girl asked me to help her write to her Mother: "Thank you for helping me to shower." Camp was different with only showers and she had found them rather scary. The gift of a mother's love and care was so beautiful and comforting.

Why are Our Gifts of the Spirit Different?

To finish, let us think about what we have discussed.

God gives Christians gifts of the Spirit. Why?

Just like my plant, it is so we can grow fruit. We need to grow our gifts and use them to serve Him. The gifts He gives us are not all the same. Paul asks in 1 Cor. 12.28-29 'Are we all Apostles? Are we all Prophets? Are we all teachers?' No! One church might need a leader with the gift of evangelism while another may need a leader with a gift of teaching. Our gifts are not all the same. There are different needs, different ways of serving, and different activities to fulfill those needs (1 Cor.12.4-7).

In his Letter to the Ephesians (4.11–16), Paul wrote that God gives us gifts to use for the work of ministry, for building up the church by sharing our faith and knowledge of Jesus. When we do this with love, we are no longer like little children. We grow up into Christ.

We do not choose these gifts ourselves. God made us and we can trust Him because He knows and loves each of us and gives us just the right gifts. We should not compare our gift with someone else’s; we are different so our gifts are different.

All the gifts that God gives us are good and we should thank Him for them and always use them in love, and act in love - to the glory of God.


Christ, from whom all blessings flow
Christ, from whom all blessings flow | Source

Conclusion and Thanks

We have a lovely song to sing now. It is ‘Christ, from whom all blessings flow.’

This song praises God for all the gifts He blesses us with and asks for His strength to use them well, united in His love.

We can sing together.

*

Thank you for sharing with me today. May God bless you.

I have a bookmark for each of you.

This bookmark has a prayer on it. Let us pray that prayer together.

© 2013 Bronwen Scott-Branagan

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    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this treasure of the spirit.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      I agree with Mhatter, this article is a treasure of the spirit. I couldn't say it better. What a wonderful game to play! It does make each person aware of the gifts of the spirit that each of us has. Wow!

    • profile image

      Rayne123 3 years ago

      Beautiful hub, well written

      Something to always treasure

      Blessings

      Laurie

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A wise man that Paul was. He has always been my favorite author of the New Testament. Thank you for a lovely beginning to my day.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Blossom, thank you for underscoring that other gifts without love are just an expression of human energy. Very good outline. Sure the presentation was too.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wonderful, reminds me of all my Cursillo events. And what a beautiful message and activity. Ultreya.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      You have a splendid gift, Blossom, and you use it well.

      Excellent!

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      What a beautiful and thoughtful hub, Blossom! What a great activity to have! It's important to take the time to see what gift other people have and write it! To often we take those gifts for granted. When we take the time to write it, we can appreciate them a lot more!

      Have a great week, Blossom.... a week filled with gifts!

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      This is a very well put together hub. I would like to thank you for sharing your research, but I would also like to thank you for supporting my work for so long now. Thank you. Jamie

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Mhatter: It's a pleasure to be able to share on HubPages.

      suzettenaples: Yes, that game was quite a hit with the participants and the results very special.

      Rayne123: Laurie, it was a time to treasure and I will continue to treasure those ladies in my heart and my prayers.

      billybuc: Bless you! Paul had a great brain and had used it so well in his training and then he just blossomed when Jesus entered his heart.

      MsDora: Thank you for those lovely comments. It was such a privilege to be invited to speak again - for the third year running.

      Ericdierker: As we were so involved in parish work, we did not join Cursillo, but encouraged the people to and many did and it was a great blessing to them.

      WillStarr: Thank you. I hope that we always use our gifts in the right way. Bless you for your comments.

      kidscrafts: Thank you so much for your lovely comments. May you have a great week, too, using those wonderfully creative gifts that you have been blessed with.

      jhamann: Jamie, it's a pleasure to support my HubPages friends and thank you for your comments.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I agree with Will; you do have a gift and use it very well. You also have a very gentle spirit and I am so pleased to have found you here to read. ^

    • SamitaJassi profile image

      Samita Sharma 3 years ago from Chandigarh

      Wow i had no idea about Gifts of the Spirit... revealed so much

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Dear Blossom,

      What a beautiful hub on the Gifts of the Spirit. Yes, we should use our gifts to glorify Him. You are so right, a lot of times it is others who see our gifts when we do not realize what our gifts are, but it is important that we know are gifts.

      Up and more and sharing

      God bless you,

      Faith Reaper

    • Faithful Daughter profile image

      Servant of God YHWH 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Blossom, you are a blessing to many with your teaching. I would say one of your gifts of the Spirit is teaching, but I know you have many more. I feel that you have done a wonderful job of explaining (biblically) the gifts of the Spirit in this hub. On a personal note, I like to share that when I gave my life to Christ fully, I never wondered about my gifts of the Spirit but the transformation in me was so evident that others would approach me and point out those gifts. Funny, I never thought of them as gifts because I only saw my actions as the love our Lord emanating from me.

      Awesome hub! Voted up and across the board.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Jackie Lynnley: How lovely of you and thank you.Yes, HubPages is a special place where we can make friends we'll probably never meet in this life. Thank you for being one of my friends.

      SamitaJassa: It's great the way we can learn from each other. Thank you for visiting.

      Faith Reaper: How lovely to hear from you and thank you so much for your comments - they are always so positive. God blesses us in so many ways. May He bless you, too.

      Faithful Daughter: Teaching seems to run in our family, my mother, my father at one stage, my husband for several years, I, and even some of my children and grandchildren have been or are teachers. On your personal note, I agree - we don't always think of ourselves as being endowed with gifts of the Spirit, we just use them, but finding them in others and speaking about them can be a great encouragement, too. God bless you.

    • profile image

      mours sshields 3 years ago from Elwood, Indiana

      Great and inspiring article! Praise the Lord that we all have different gifts! Fascinating study!

      Marcia Ours

    • SamitaJassi profile image

      Samita Sharma 3 years ago from Chandigarh

      Another great hub!

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      mours sshields: Thank you. Yes, it wouldn't be good if we were all endowed with the same gifts. Just imagine!

      SamitaJassi: Thank you for your comment.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and interesting. Truly inspirational. God give certain gifts to each person and from them they can develop their talents and if they do then the gifts were well received. God bless.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Gypsy Rose Lee: He does give us the gifts, but it's up to us to grow them or let them die. May God bless you, too.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I remember taking a class at church on this and how much it helped me understand the blessings from using them. Excellent post and well written. God bless you, dear lady.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      teaches12345: How sweet! Thank you and God bless you, too. It's interesting, the things we learn and how we remember them and take them on so that they become part of ourselves, which is what you have done.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I am more spiritual than religious, but in my humble opine, we all have these gifts. Whether or not we choose to use them and how, is another thing. Very nicely worded with good messages within.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      aviannovice: Yes, the choice of what we do with our gifts is up to us and we should use them and grow them to help others. Thank you for your comments.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 3 years ago from Southern Minnesota

      Thank you for sharing this workshop both insight and activity. I am always blessed by the the gift of creativity some have in developing understanding, bonding, and unity within a group setting.

      A principle that stood out in reference to teaching was how..."Children often remember for the rest of their lives what they learn in Sunday School" This is so true. I was a prodigal daughter and it was the remembrance of my learning and experience in Sunday school that was one of the first things that came to my awareness shortly before my return.

      I also like the conclusion in that all gifts love must be at the heart of it all and related to that is having respect to each ones gift that may be very different than our own.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Tamarajo: What lovely comments! Thank you so much, I'm glad you visited and I appreciate them, especially your final remark that we need to respect each other's gifts, even when they're very different from our own. If we were all endowed with the same gifts it would be a boring old world, wouldn't it? Bless you.

    • kiddiecreations profile image

      N Kiddie 3 years ago

      Great list! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      kiddiecreations: Thank you. I'm glad that you enjoyed reading.

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 3 years ago from USA

      I feel like you are using all the gifts of the Spirit when writing, so keep up the good work! I know how good it makes me feel to write when inspired too! Nice! God bless you today, and always!

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      This is a wonderful hub and I'm sure the campers loved every minute of your presentation. Surely the art of writing is a gift of spirit.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      schoolgirlforreal: What a beautiful thing to say! Thank you. I am continuing to write, just not on HubPages so often at the moment, but I'll be back! May God bless you, too.

      juneaukid: How lovely! I still have that little girl's sweet message to her mother. I was only looking at it this morning when trying to clear out some of my 'stuff', but couldn't part with it!

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