Gifts Versus Talent

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” –Romans 12:6-8

We are each designed by the Creator, the Almighty God of Heaven. He knows each hair on our heads and counts us as more than the sparrows, whom He ensures are fed and cared for. He created all the beautiful wonders of space, yet considers us more unique. With each design of each person, He shaped our faces, our bodies, our hearts, and our souls. He thought out our personalities, our favorites, our dislikes, and who we would interact with. He even customized a plan, a journey for each of our lives to shape us into who we were to become.

In the midst of all this, He implanted within us the gifts we would need on our journey. No one will lead the exact same life as the next, even though some of our gifts may be similar. Some of us are natural leaders, some have a passion for creativity, and others still have hearts twice the size of their neighbors. However, in some cases, we don’t discover our gifts nor passions until after we come to know Christ in our hearts, for then the Holy Spirit gives a gift to us as well.

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” –1 Corinthians 12:4-11

During this past Summer we had a guest pastor deliver the sermon. He touched on the different gifts people have. To help us see how things could be used in real life, he used the example of him tripping and falling down the two-stair platform our pulpit rests on. If he did so a small group of people from the front would rush to his side for various reasons while those in the back would probably remain where they were so as to not crowd the area of the accident.

One reason someone would approach in the small group is to examine what might have caused the accident while another would ask if he was alright. He continued, saying the one concerned about the cause of the accident might be someone gifted with wisdom and was hoping to prevent future accidents from occurring. The one asking if he was alright probably had the gift of compassion. Furthermore, he mentioned if someone arrived thirty minutes before service began and was aggravated that the coffee wasn’t made (because almost everyone in our church is a coffee addict) then they, most likely, had the gift of hospitality.

Because we all have our own gift(s) we shouldn’t blame someone else nor look down on them for not doing what we think a situation requires. To become aggravated, angry, irritated, or frustrated with someone else because something in particular isn’t done when you thought it should be is like trying to compare a hand to an ear.

“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body…Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all interpret?” –1 Corinthians 12:17-20, 27-30

We each have our place to serve in, each our own journey with Christ to help those who are lost to turn to Him. However, we are all in this together. It wasn’t one person who raised a child, but a village of people working together to do so. In the same way, we must work together with our different gifts to help those around us know how much God loves them.

There is one thing, though, that we must remember: a gift isn’t a talent. A gift is something you’re born with, whether it is given to you in your physical birth or in your spiritual birth (being born again when you accept your salvation from Christ through prayer). A talent, on the other hand, is something you strive for with a passion, a skill developed over time. For example, I have the gift of creativity but the talent to create works of visual art. Another person can have the same gift but the passion to create music. Two other people can have the same gift of compassion, but one develops the talent of public speaking to stand for those who do not have their own voice while the other seeks skills in business to develop a nonprofit organization to meet a need.

Understanding our gifts can help us not only to develop our talents but also to help us work better with others. For a team to function well, those included must understand one another’s strengths and weaknesses to give the correct tasks to the right person and thus complete the job to the best of their abilities. In the same way, we must apply that to our every day lives so we are not irritated at a friend for not doing something we think needs attention. We must work as one body to reflect the light of Christ brightly. A candle by itself can light up a room, but a large enough cluster of them can outshine the stars.


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