“The difference between spiritual gifts and human talents may be stated in a single word: conversion.” (Lloyd Edwards, Discerning Your Spiritual Gifts, p. 12)In this view, our spiritual gifts are nothing more--and nothing less--than the natural talents and the acquired skills we have before giving Jesus Christ the central place in our lives.
But is that true? Imagine someone who, from an early age, showed real acumen for making money. Whatever moneymaking scheme he tried as a child--delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, he was more successful than most kids because he worked harder and smarter. He set goals and achieved them. This pattern continued into his adult years and along the way, he went to college, getting degrees in Accounting and Business Administration, buttressing his passions and his experiences with education. Then our imaginary business leader came to faith in Christ and got involved in a local church. Now he could use all those talents to the glory of God. When that sort of thing happens, Lloyd Edwards and others argue, a talent becomes a spiritual gift.
That may be. But this ignores those instances when the Holy Spirit supernaturally grants people gifts they never exhibited before. Consider Jesus’ disciple, Peter. Throughout much of his life, Peter usually opened his mouth only to stick his foot into it. But on the first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell on Peter. Now when he opened his mouth, the Gospel came out in an intelligible and sensitive way. Peter had the gift of evangelism and with his first sermon, 3000 people came to faith in Christ. (Acts 2:1-42)
Some of your gifts may be skills you’ve always had, but that you now devote to God’s glory. Others may come to you as supernatural gifts after coming to faith. Either way, your spiritual gifts aren’t just for you. God gives them to you to build up the Church and to help with its mission.
Bible Passage to Ponder: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (First Peter 2:9)