Gift of Missionary

1 Corinthians 9:22

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

People with the gift of missionary or missions have a heart for evangelism but desire to bring God’s word to another culture.  This is sometimes known as the gift of apostleship which literally means sent with a commission.

Missionaries must do as Paul did – learn the culture they are trying to reach and attempt to fit in and embrace the culture.  They don’t come in telling everyone how stupid and ignorant they are for not doing things the right way and worshipping the true God.

Paul lived this when he went to Athens in Acts 17.  There he saw that the people were very religious, even having an altar to an unknown god so as not to offend any they might have missed.  Rather than tell them how wrong their polytheistic ways were, Paul used the opportunity to tell them about the God they were missing.

Although missions is often thought of as overseas, people can have the gift of missions and use it locally as well.  These people reach out to a culture that is different from their own whether it is through a teen pregnancy center, prison ministry, or multicultural church.

Gift of Discernment

John 16:13-14

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.

Discernment is knowing right from wrong.  There are things that are universal, that goes across all religions, such as murder is wrong.  We don’t need discernment when it comes to issues like that when it is black and white.

Discernment comes into play when dealing with shades of grey.  It appears to be becoming a more and more valuable gift as the lines between right and wrong become more blurred.

Discernment will allow someone to know if something that is said is of God or Satan.  Satan is the father of lies but often those lies are skillfully crafted to appear as truth.  Discernment is needed to seek out the falsehood and expose it.

Much like wisdom, this gift can be grown as a person becomes more rooted in God’s word.  One can say that something is wrong because they know it is in the Bible and they can direct others to the passage.

Discernment is valuable not just for personal morality but for guiding others.  People with discernment should be sought out when making decisions or when wise counsel is required.

Gift of Faith

Matthew 21:21

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 

All Christians have faith.  Hebrews 13:1 tells us: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  None of us saw Jesus walk upon the earth. We have only what is written to account for His life.  It takes faith to accept this and trust that Jesus is the source of forgiveness of our sins.

Few have the kind of faith that Jesus speaks of here.  For evidence, all you need to do is sit in a board meeting and propose doing something expensive and watch people wonder where the money will come from.  Far too often the question is not whether this is something God wants the church to do but whether they can afford it.

Faith obviously has its limitations in that it must be grounded in common sense.  Faith is not jumping off the roof and trusting that God will teach you to fly.  But it is about moving out of your comfort zone.

A person with the gift of faith has an extraordinary ability to leave things in God’s hands when nothing can be done here on earth.  But faith doesn’t mean leaving everything up to God.  It also means that we’re working where we can to make things happen.  Where we can’t, we hand it over to God and acknowledge that only He can do it.

Gift of Knowledge

1 Corinthians 2:8

None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Wisdom and knowledge are closely intertwined and some may even consider them the same thing.  Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord while knowledge has to do with understanding Him.  When we fear God we make our wise decisions based upon who we know Him to be.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were witnesses to prophecy being fulfilled in front of their eyes.  Jesus even declared this as it was being done.  But because they were not wise, God did not grant them the knowledge to understand what was going on.

But while knowledge is good, it is no good unless it is put to use.  We can know lots about God but only when we act upon that knowledge are things accomplished.

We may know God wants us to trust Him.  We may know God wants us to fulfill the Great Commission.  We may know God wants us to forgive others and love our neighbor.  The question is “what are we to do with such knowledge?”

Knowledge is great, but just like every other gift, we can’t hoard it and keep it to ourselves.  We need to put that knowledge into action.

Gift of Wisdom

2 Chronicles 1:7-10

That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place.  Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth.  Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

The gift of wisdom is not about being smart.  There are many intelligent people who are not wise.  There is truth behind the stories of nutty professors.  Being smart doesn’t mean you have common sense.  Wisdom is greater than this.

Solomon asked for wisdom to lead God’s people.  All throughout the book of Proverbs the fear of the Lord is described as the beginning of wisdom.  People who are wise will revere God and seek to do as He commands.

People with the gift of wisdom should be near positions of leadership.  This doesn’t mean that they are necessarily leaders though as that is a separate gift.  But people with the gift of wisdom should definitely be advising leaders even if the leader also has the gift of wisdom.  A wise person knows that they can’t have too much good counsel.

While there is a supernatural wisdom that God gives, wisdom is one gift that a person may work on and increase on their own.  The more often we make our decisions based on our love for God, the greater our wisdom will become.