What can I learn from the spiritual gifts of others?
The Christians around you have spiritual gifts that can complement your gifts in the home, church, workplace, and community. The God-given abilities and insights that accompany each gift will enrich your lives and help you work together with greater joy and efficiency.
Unfortunately, many conflicts among Christians are the result of ignorance about spiritual gifts—especially motivational gifts—and the unique perspectives on life that accompany those gifts. Seek to avoid discord by learning about spiritual gifts, becoming attentive to them in your relationships, and observing how they work in a variety of situations.
Discover How the Gifts Work Together
God designed spiritual gifts to work within the context of community. In the Church, each member’s strengths and weaknesses matter. We are called to employ our gifts and to remember the place our gifts have in the Body: we are an important part of the whole, but we need others just as much as they need us. Thus, the pattern of giving and receiving, serving and being served, keeps every believer humble.
As each family member, friend, or co-worker identifies his or her motivational gift, make note of this information. Learn how your spiritual gifts relate to theirs and gain insights into how you will best work together.
Recognize the Unique Perspectives of the Gifts
Each Christian sees the situations and circumstances of life through the special “lens” of his motivational gift. He cannot see things any other way, because his motivational gift shapes his perspective on everything. Priorities, analyses, delights are all influenced by his motivational gift. The additional influences that shape his life (personality, age, gender, culture, circumstances, etc.) create his unique perspective on things.
Conflicts often arise because every Christian sees life from a unique perspective. We cannot expect to see everything from the same vantage point, but we should learn to recognize and appreciate the differences in what we see and gain more wisdom and understanding by sharing our perspectives. That is what the Body of Christ is all about. Learn to communicate with one another and seek to apply God’s truth in every situation.
Observe Other Gifts in Action
As you observe Christians who are using their gifts successfully, loving others and glorifying God, evaluate how they operate “in the Spirit”:
- How does a server see and meet practical needs?
- How does a teacher validate truth?
- How does an exhorter visualize steps of action toward spiritual growth?
- How does a giver make wise investments?
- How does an organizer get jobs done?
- How does a mercy discern the hurts of others?
- How does a prophet bring God’s Word to bear on a specific situation?
Begin asking people with other motivational gifts to tell you what things are important to them. Ask them to share how they respond in particular situations. What needs are they alert to and what do they see as priorities in meeting those needs? Invite them to point out “blind spots” in your life or service for Christ, so that you can mature and carry out your God-given assignments with greater wisdom.
It is a privilege to be part of the Body of Christ. We need each other. Let’s learn to understand and appreciate one another and to learn from each other as well.
Keep in mind the Apostle Paul’s exhortation: “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. . . . Now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you” (I Corinthians 12:1, 18–21).