“However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.””
Ephesians 4:7-8 NLT
Jesus, the Son of God, is generous. I would say infinitely generous. There is no limit to His generosity. We read in our verses today that each of us has been given a gift through the generosity of Christ. But can you imagine being given a gift-wrapped package? Straight away, you notice that the wrapping paper isn’t that cheap stuff so thin that it tears as you look at it. This wrapping paper is of a quality fitting for a royal person. It looks as though it has been made of pure gold, sparkling with precious stones. But then you notice that in places on the package there are drops of blood. Before I get carried away any further with my analogy, Jesus’ generosity started with the greatest gift of all time at Calvary. There He gave His life for me, the very Son of God dying a horrible, blood-soaked death for the forgiveness of my sins. What a gift! What a Saviour! But I now stand before God as His child. A royal child of a Royal King. And I have this package in my hands. Jesus has just given it to me. Tremblingly, I start to open it, knowing that within is something special. It has to be so, because Jesus’ first gift was infinitely precious. Surely this gift will be something equally mind-boggling. And it is.
I should say straight away, that this is no worldly gift. It’s not a gift-wrapped Rolex watch. Or some other such trinket. This is a special spiritual gift that dovetails into my natural giftings. What is it? Well, in three places in the New Testament there are lists of spiritual gifts. Romans 12:6-8 lists prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, and mercy. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 contains wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:28 includes a few more – healings, helps, leadership, speaking in other tongues. And for good measure, there are gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11, gifts given to the church including the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers, but more about them in a future blog.
When we open our package, what do we find? Perhaps our expectation is to find a golden key and a box marked “Spiritual Gift”. Opening it will tell us what our gift is. Or perhaps we hope to find something like a spiritual cheque book, with blank cheques signed by Jesus Himself. An impressive gift enabling us to go out and do amazing things for God. Or perhaps we open it and find nothing there. Disappointed, we turn to Jesus and ask the question – “Where is my special gift”?
Spiritual gifts are distributed by the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:11 says, “It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have”. However, it is no good sitting back waiting for our spiritual gift to arrive via some Heavenly postman, spending our time unproductively complaining that we can’t serve God because we don’t have the right gifting. We all have a primary calling, which is to serve God in the ways He has ordained. And strangely, as we faithfully and willingly serve Him in every situation that comes our way, He will supply the gifts we need. So if we find ourselves in a situation where someone is sick, we can in faith reach out to God for the gift of healing. If we find someone in a quandary about an important decision that has to be made, we can in faith reach out for a word of knowledge, or wisdom. At other times, as we faithfully use our natural gifts to do what we do well, He will supply that additional spiritual tools we need.
Let us be a thankful people, thanking God for all He has given us. The unlimited gifts of a generous and loving God, so freely given to those with the faith to ask.