My husband is studying theology and Biblical studies through Liberty University right now and one of his classes assigned a spiritual gifts survey as homework. The idea behind the survey is self knowledge of what God has divinely gifted you to do within the Church and in life.
Out of curiosity, I took the survey also. My husband’s most dominant gifts are prophecy and pastor/shepherd, which means he’s been given the ability to speak the truth of God’s word with boldness and tenacity, and that he is skilled in caring for and nurturing the needs of others. My gifts that were most dominant were teacher and exhortation, which means I’ve been gifted with the ability to deeply study God’s word for the purpose of bringing greater depth of understanding to fellow believers, as well as encouraging others in the Word to be persistent in the faith.
My husband’s gifts weren’t really a surprise to me; he’s always been one to tell the truth like it is without a sugar coating; which is what you’d expect from a “fire and brimstone” kind of pastor. And he’s been incredible in his ability to meet my needs and nurture my strengths.
My gifts however surprised me a bit. I suppose they shouldn’t have, because they align with my chosen vocation. I’ve taught in the public school system and I’ve also taught yoga. I was always good at studying. I have a desire to understand and a thirst for details. My daily Bible study consists of me, my Bible, a Bible commentary, and my massive Strong and Vine’s dictionary and concordance. I frequently listen to apologists such as Ravi Zacharias, and I enjoy reading philosophy from Thomas Aquinas, Augustine of Hippo, Rene Descartes, etc. I maintained a 100% average in my philosophy class in college. I really just enjoy studying and thinking deeply. I guess what surprised me was the idea that what I’ve always considered to be a hang up (too detail oriented to accomplish anything in the big picture) or quirk (easily distracted by minutiae like word definitions or etymology) is actually a spiritual gift intended for service in the Church!
Exhortation befuddled me as well as I’ve always felt lame being the “cheerleader” of sorts. It never seemed genuine to me to brag on other people, even if I was impressed by them. But I suppose I’ve been looking at that the wrong way too. If I have the ability to recognize other’s strengths, I should encourage them in them. This really sunk in as I thought about my children. It’s not my job to live vicariously through them, but to notice their skills and abilities and encourage them to pursue those things to the glory of God. Wow. And to think that’s always been a gift of mine…
Anyway, I thought it was such a revelation to me to see how I can be used in the Church that I should share that information with you all. Here’s the link to the spiritual gifts inventory. It isn’t the same one I took yesterday, but it’s the same basic idea. I encourage you (see what I did there?) to take it and discover what abilities God has gifted you with so that you may better use them to further His kingdom.