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Spiritual Gifts - one or many?

At our church camp we looked at Ephesians 4.  We found that everyone of us has been given grace to be either an apostle, prophet, pastor, evangelist or teacher.  These are overall roles that God gives us and when we operate in them we find it easy because God has given us grace in those areas.  Sometimes by necessity or as part of God's rounding out of our character a caring pastor might find them temporarily thrust into an apostolic role of establishing a new ministry, or a prophet might find themselves going through a pastoral season of caring for sick relatives.  However, these forays into different roles take more energy and returning to your God given role will be a welcome relief.  In this context most of us will have one major role.

The gifts listed in 1 Cor 12 are different.  If we think we might only have one of them (wisdom, knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues or interpretation of tongues) we can limit ourselves and what God wants to do.  A careful reading of 1 Cor 12 shows it talks about to each one being given a 'manifestation of the spirit for the common good'.  As followers of Christ, each one of us has the whole Holy Spirit - not just a part of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore each of us is capable of receiving any of the  'manifestations' of the Spirit for the common good.  So lets not lock ourselves into thinking 'I only receive words of wisdom', rather when we gather together with believers and non believers alike, lets have a heart that asks God: 'What is needed here for the common good?  God how do you want to work through me in this situation?' and be open to whatever manifestation of the Spirit, God wants to bring through you at that time.

David Wanstall, 02/06/2009