Spiritual Gifts

Different Gifts, One Spirit

Fifty days after Easter every year, we celebrate the Holy Spirit coming on the disciples in a powerful way, driving them out of their hiding places to proclaim that Jesus is risen from the dead and that all people are invited to have life in his name.

                This was not the first time the Spirit gave people unique gifts: over a thousand years earlier, the Spirit came on David and gave him gifts to sing and write Psalms (1 Sam 16:13; Mark 12:35-37). The Spirit moved through Elijah to bring fire down from heaven and show everyone the one true God (1 Kings 18). The Spirit moved through his protégé Elisha to heal a Syrian general name d Naaman (2 Kings 5). The Spirit inspired Amos to leave his tree business and tell the rulers that they were failing to serve God and their neighbors (Amos 7:14). The Spirit enables people to trust in God’s promises. Paul describes different gifts—from preaching to administration—that God uses to build up others for God’s purposes (1 Cor 12).

                One of the mistakes we make is to think that the movement of the Spirit has to do with emotions. “I don’t feel the Spirit,” one person told me, thinking that they should feel something—giddy, glowing, a tingle on their skin, something. Some have thought when they feel clarity about their purpose, that the Spirit is at work. Some people have seen others cry and have identified that as the Spirit at work. These may be the Spirit at work; but it is a mistake to reduce the Spirit down to our feelings, thoughts, or emotions. As Jesus says to Nicodemus, “the Spirit blows where it will.” Sometimes we can see the leaves moving, and other times not. Although emotions are important, they are not a reliable indicator of the Spirit at work.

                Everybody has spiritual gifts; do you know what your gifts are? Each new member class at St. John’s takes a Spiritual Gifts Inventory, a crude but helpful tool to discover your gifts. I encourage you to click on the link below, which takes you to a page on the ELCA website, and take the inventory.

For more information on Spiritual Gifts and how you might use those gifts at St. John's, click on the link below.