"Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to
us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of
faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that
teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he
that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with
diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness."
Previously Paul taught us that each member of the church is a member
of the body of Christ. Also, each member is an individual with
different qualities and functions in the body, but all are to work
together for the good of the body and to work in harmony. Now Paul
tells us that we all have different gifts as members of the body of
The gifts we have are by the grace of God. Paul wrote in 1 Cor.
12:11: "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit,
dividing to every man severally as he will." The Spirit gives us our
spiritual gifts and we each have more than one gift that the Spirit
has given us. We did not earn these gifts. They were freely given to
us by the grace of God. Since we did not earn them, there is no need
for us to be jealous of other people's gifts.
The Lord gave us a parable concerning talents that teaches us that
it is not the value of the gift that is important, but what we do
with what we are given that is important:
Matt. 25:14 "For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a
far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them
his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and
to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and
straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five
talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five
talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained
other two. 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the
earth, and hid his lord's money. 19 After a long time the lord of
those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20 And so he that
had received five talents came and brought other five talents,
saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have
gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him,
Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful
over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter
thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also that had received two
talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents:
behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord
said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been
faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things:
enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 Then he which had received
the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an
hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou
hast not strowed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent
in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26 His lord
answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou
knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not
strowed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the
exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own
with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto
him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be
given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall
be taken away even that which he hath."
The ones who had the five and the two talents received the same
reward for their faithful use of the talents they were given. The
one who had the one talent would have had the same reward if he had
faithfully used the talent he was given. Instead, he lost the talent
he was given and was chastened for failing to use his talent.
There were seven gifts that are listed in the above subject verse.
The first talent was the gift of prophecy. Having the gift of
prophecy is not the same as being a prophet. Certainly, the prophet
has the gift of prophecy. However, others who are not prophets also
have the gift of prophecy. The word prophecy comes from the Greek
word meaning to predict the future. The prophets were given the
revealed word of God and also were given prophecies of future
events. In the church there are individuals who have wisdom to
analyze the circumstances of a problem or events and make valid
predictions of what will happen if the actions or events are not
changed. This is having the gift of prophecy. This is valuable to
the whole body as we each are often faced with problems or faced
with circumstances that need to be changed in our lives and these
people can help us by showing us what will happen if we make the
needed changes and what will happen if we do not make the needed
The second gift is the gift of ministry. Most of the members of the
church will have the gift of ministering to the needs of others.
Certainly, we all are familiar with the gospel ministry. The gift of
the gospel ministry is limited, however, to a very few of the
membership of the church. But there are many examples given to us in
the church where both men and women in the church had the gift of
ministering to the needs of others. A couple examples are listed
1. Acts 9:36 "Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named
Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was
full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. 37 And it came to
pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had
washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. 38 And forasmuch as Lydda
was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there,
they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to
come to them. 39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was
come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows
stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which
Dorcas made, while she was with them. 40 But Peter put them all
forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body
said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw
Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up,
and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive."
2. Rom. 16:1 "I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a
servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: 2 That ye receive her in
the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever
business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of
many, and of myself also. 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in
Christ Jesus: 4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto
whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the
In the above examples, Tabitha, Phebe, Priscilla, and Aquila all had
the gift of ministry and were ministering to the needs of others.
None of the above, however, were gospel ministers or preachers. The
admonition that Paul told those who had the gift of ministry was
that we should wait upon our ministering. Having a gift and using it
are two different matters. We should be using and exhorting others
to use their gifts to the honor and glory of God and to the benefit
of the Lord's people.
The third gift is the gift of teaching. The gospel ministry has the
gift of teaching as that is one of the qualifications of a bishop or
elder. However, others in the church also have the gift of teaching
as well. Their teaching is not a public teaching of the word, but
rather a private teaching of others. Some examples of the use of
this gift are given below:
1. Acts 18:24 "And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria,
an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25
This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in
the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord,
knowing only the baptism of John. 26 And he began to speak boldly in
the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took
him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more
2. Tit. 2:3 "The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as
becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine,
teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be
sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be
discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own
husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."
Aquila and Priscilla privately taught Apollos the way of the Lord
more perfectly. The aged women in the congregation are to teach the
younger women several things as listed above. Thus, the aged teach
from their own experience and broad knowledge that they have gained
to the benefit of those who have not had the experience and
knowledge due to their young age. These aged women are sometimes
called mothers in the church. While they may not be the younger
women's actual mothers, yet they serve to give advice and counsel to
the younger women as spiritual leaders in the church much as a
mother would do to their children.
Likewise, we have men who have been in the church for some time who
often teach the younger men giving them advice and counsel in
spiritual matters and matters concerning the church.
The fourth gift is that of exhortation. Again the gospel preacher is
to exhort the congregation. However, there are others in the
congregation as well who have the gift of exhortation. Often we
observe that deacons usually have the gift of exhortation. The word,
exhortation, is defined as follows: "parakaleo, par-ak-al-eh'-o;
from G3844 and G2564; to call near, i.e. invite, invoke (by
imploration, hortation or consolation):--beseech, call for, (be of
good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), intreat, pray." Often
times we know of things that we should do or that we should not do.
A big problem that each of us is faced with is finding the courage
to either do the things we should or not do the things we should not
do. Exhortations from others helps us to find the courage to do what
is right and not do what is wrong. There are many applications where
exhortation is a very valuable gift to the church. Those who have
the gift of exhortation should be using that gift to the honor and
glory of God and to the benefit of the members of the church.
The fifth gift is the gift of giving. Most of the congregation will
have the gift of giving. The scriptures teach us that we are to give
to the needs of others:
1. James 1:27 'Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father
is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and
to keep himself unspotted from the world."
2. Mat 5:42 "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would
borrow of thee turn not thou away."
3. Rom 12:20 "Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he
thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of
fire on his head."
4. 2 Cor 9:7 "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so
let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a
5. Eph 4:28 "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him
labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may
have to give to him that needeth."
6. James 2:15 "If a brother or
sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say
unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding
ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what
doth it profit?"
7. 1 Tim. 6:17 "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they
be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living
God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good,
that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to
communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation
against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."
Giving is to be done in simplicity. Simplicity is defined as
follows: "572. haplotes, hap-lot'-ace; from G573; singleness, i.e.
(subj.) sincerity (without dissimulation or self-seeking), or (obj.)
generosity (copious bestowal):--bountifulness, liberal (-ity),
simplicity, singleness." Thus giving is to be done in singleness of
heart. It is to be the sincere desire of the heart. We are to give
generously or bountifully. We are not to seek praise for ourselves
in giving, but to give praise and honor and glory to God for his
bountiful hand upon us.
The sixth gift is ruling. The word rule is defined as follows:
"4291. proistemi, pro-is'-tay-mee; from G4253 and G2476; to stand
before, i.e. (in rank) to preside, or (by impl.) to practise:--maintain,
be over, rule." The elders are to rule well. That is they are to
lead the congregation by example and precept. Likewise, the deacons
of the church are to lead in the serving of the tables of the
church. Deacons should have the gift of ruling. The gift of ruling,
however, is not limited to the elders and deacons of the church.
Others may also lead in the activities of the church. Often I see
sisters who will organize and lead the other sisters in preparing
for the meals that are sometimes served in the general gatherings of
the congregation. Likewise, to relieve the needs and sufferings of
others, members of the congregation will sometimes organize and lead
in this activity.
Phebe was an example of a sister that was a ruler or leader: Rom.
16:1 "I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the
church which is at Cenchrea: 2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as
becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she
hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of
The seventh gift is that of showing mercy. There are two general
words and two meanings of the word mercy. There is God's mercy that
he bestows upon us judicially when he forgives us of our sin. Next,
there is the definition of the word mercy that means compassion.
This is the definition used in this seventh gift given to the
church. It is showing compassion to others. When we visit the sick
and the afflicted in hospitals, homes, and in nursing facilities and
encourage and pray for them, we are showing mercy unto them.
Sometimes there are members of the congregation who seem to have a
special ability to encourage the sick, feeble, afflicted,
distressed, persecuted, downtrodden. This is the gift of mercy.
There is both natural sickness and there is spiritual sickness.
Visiting the sick and encouraging them is a gift of showing mercy.
Those who have this gift are to do it with cheerfulness and not out
of a sense of duty and as something I have to do, but would rather
be doing something else.
All seven of the above listed spiritual gifts are a great blessing
from God that he by his grace has given to the membership of the
church and is for our benefit as well as to praise, honor, and
glorify his great and holy name.