This article concludes are look at some definitions of spiritual gifts. If you recognise yourself in either of these, consider speaking to your local minister.
This is the divine enablement to motivate Yahweh’s people to apply and act on Biblical principles, especially when they are discouraged or wavering in their faith. People with the gift of encouragement have an ability to bring out the best in others; to motivate others to grow and to challenge them to develop their potential. People with this gift are inspirational; they’re motivational, action-oriented; they can often visualise achievement for other people. Frequently these people make great counsellors. Again, encouragement can be used in a public forum, as a teacher. You might have the role of teaching but not have the gift of teaching. You might have the gift of encouragement; or it could be used in a one-on-one situation or as a lay pastor.
This is the divine enablement to cheerfully and generously contribute material resources and/or money (beyond the tithe) to the work of Yahweh so that the Body may grow and be strengthened. People with this gift earn and manage money so that they can donate it to support the ministries of others; giving sacrificially in order to further the work of the kingdom. Have you ever been around a person with the gift of giving? You never have to tell them that giving is a part of the disciple’s life; it’s an automatic response. They’re always giving and they love it! Typically, people with the gift of giving are the happiest people around. Often they are successful in business. Some have an ability that seems to make everything they touch ‘turn to gold’; and then they just give that gold away. They make a lot of money, and they give a lot of money. Yahweh gives this ability to make large amounts of money so that the church and His kingdom can be financed. A good example of this gift is found in the life of R.G. Laturno, the man who developed the great earth movers, the tractors. When he started out he was giving ten percent of his income and living on 90%. As Yahweh blessed him, he gave 20%, and lived on 80%. Nobody told him to do this; he just had the gift of giving. By the end of his life he was giving away 90% of what he made and living on 10% - and he was still a multi-millionaire. He would say, “You can’t outgive Yahweh!”
The gift of mercy is the divine enablement to detect hurt and empathise with those who are suffering, those who are in need in the church family. Compassion in these people moves them to action and they cheerfully provide understanding and support to those experiencing distress, crisis, or pain; they want to alleviate the sources of pain or discomfort in suffering people. The best example of somebody with the gift of mercy would be the Good Samaritan. Remember the story? He just came, picked up the man at the side of the road, took him to the local hotel and said, “Whatever it takes I’ll pay for it and cover it.” People with this gift know how to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Support groups are a good place for the
direction of mercy.
The divine enablement to make people, especially strangers, feel warmly welcomed, accepted, comfortable, and cared for in the church family. People with this gift are able to coordinate those things which promote fellowship. You can always tell somebody who has the gift of hospitality for you feel comfortable around them immediately. There’s a difference between entertaining and showing hospitality. A person could be entertaining you in their home, but all the time you are there you sense their stress. However, somebody with the genuine gift of hospitality makes you feel comfortable as soon as you walk into their home; they have a way of putting you at ease. People with the gift of hospitality are often good conversationalists; they know how to get other people talking about themselves. They often use their homes as ministry tools; providing meals and other services with great love, generating an atmosphere that everybody can enjoy and in which people can feel valued. If you have the gift of hospitality, you ought to sign up to be an usher on the welcoming team immediately! Members of this team are the first line of contact at church; they are the first impression that the un-churched have even before they enter the building. Their first question will be, “Who talked to me outside?” People with this gift have a great impact for good, making visitors feel comfortable, relaxed and ‘at home’. If you have this gift your local congregation needs you on the front line! We never get a second chance to make a first impression. If we can relax visitors, then the gospel can be communicated, but if they walk into the meeting room feeling uptight, then we have difficulty getting through to them.
This is the divine enablement to consistently pray over extended periods of time. People with this gift feel compelled to pray earnestly for others or some cause; they persist in prayer until the answer arrives, convinced that Yahweh will respond. This is a special kind of praying; these people have the ability to continue for long hours. Paul had the gift of intercession. He says repeatedly, “I’m always praying for you, day and night.”