Classroom meeting conducted in pleasant informal atmosphere

A Major Reason People Neglect Their Spiritual Gifts (1 Timothy 4:14)

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Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders (1 Timothy 4:14, emphasis added).

The Holy Spirit gives every believer a spiritual gift, and as Paul implied to Timothy, you can neglect it.

Why would you do that?

One reason why you might neglect your spiritual gift is that you don’t realize you have it.

For example, are you called to preach and teach? When I asked a group of students if anyone felt that was their spiritual gift, only two or three raised their hands.

I was surprised.

I then told them something that a friend—a former mega-church pastor—once told me when I doubted my gift of preaching and teaching.

“Everyone has a different ‘power level’ for their gifting,” he explained. “For me, I’m gifted to speak to adults. Put me in front of a thousand adults, and I will knock it out of the park. But put me in front of a group of teenagers, and I will completely drop the ball. That is not my gifting at all. Being gifted for one kind of teaching does not mean being gifted for another. We all have different power levels, and you have to discover what yours is.”

That helped me be more realistic and humbler about my gifting. Just because I won’t be preaching at a mega-church doesn’t mean I’m not called to preach at all. That’s just not my “power level.”

I explained to the students that having the gift of teaching doesn’t necessarily mean standing up in front of a large congregation and preaching week after week. It could mean teaching a Sunday school class, a small group, or a children’s ministry. After that clarification, I asked whether anyone now thought they had the gift of teaching. Do you know what? Many more hands went up. More students recognized the potential for a gift.

How many Christians neglect their spiritual gifts because they have unrealistic or unbiblical expectations about their meaning and function? If that’s you, go to Scripture, read up on the gifts, and see how they were used in practice, whether in big ways or small. Then you might recognize one of those gifts in yourself.

Thought for the day: You’ll always neglect the gifts you don’t realize you have.


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