The Motivational Gifts
Ro 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;
7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;
8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Now we come to the matter of spiritual gifts. What makes them spiritual is the fact that they are given to us by God. That’s what Paul means when he says, “according to the grace that is given to us.” Our gifts come from God.
There are three categories of spiritual gifts. The “manifestation” gifts are those involving a supernatural and evident manifestation of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are dealt with by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 12. Nine gifts are listed in this category. Including the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom, healing, prophecy, tongues and so forth.
The “ministry” gifts are those gifts not obtained naturally, but which Jesus gave to the church in order to equip the saints for ministry. These are special people gifted by the Lord and they are listed in Ephesians 4:11 and include: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
The “motivational” gifts are the ones found here in Romans. These gifts are with us from conception on, and so all people have them. The question is who are they offered up to? And again, that question is answered for the Christian in the first portion of Romans 12.
The first step is to commit your life to Christ, to be cleansed by His blood so you are holy and acceptable for God’s use. Secondly, you allow your mind to be transformed into God’s way of thinking rather than the world’s way of thinking, and third you give yourself and your God-given abilities to the work of the Body of Christ.
The Bible tells us that we are not to “neglect” these gifts given to us by God. 1Ti 4:14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.
Without going into a lot of detail with the Greek here, let us just say that the manifestation gifts of Timothy was already present in him, just as yours are. In this instance, the laying on of hands and prophesying over Timothy was simply used to make Timothy aware of his particular gifts.
Instead of using a “spiritual gifts assessment” they laid on hands and used the Holy Spirit. Apparently these gifts for Timothy included teaching and exhortation. 1Ti 4:13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
So, we all have at least one of these gifts mentioned in Romans. And we are told not to neglect them. This applies to young, old, and everyone in-between. But, as I said last week. Don’t get all bent out of shape trying to discover it. Simply put yourself at the Lord’s disposal. Bring your bread and your fish to the table and He will give you the opportunities to express that gift.
The first gift listed is that of prophecy. In the Don and Katie Fortune Book, Discover Your God-Given Gifts, they list this gift as the “perceiver.” The perceiver sees everything as black and white. There are no grey areas. They know the difference between good and evil and they hate evil.
The prophet or perceiver calls people to repentance and to bear good fruit and the prophet views the Bible as the only basis for truth, belief, action, and authority. (In that sense, we all had better be prophets) The prophet doesn’t mince words, they tell it like it is. The prophet grieves deeply over the sins of others and desires to be personally obedient to God at all costs.
Some of you are saying, “Oh, black and white....repentance....not mincing words, that explains you Pastor Matz.” Yes it does. But remember it’s not just “my opinion.” It’s the black and white Word of God!
The true prophet tells forth God’s Word. They have a knack for proclaiming, “Thus saith the Lord....end of discussion!” By the way it doesn’t mean you have to be a great orator. This proclaiming can be done by speaking or writing. Both come from God.
But the prophet must be as God’s Word is....truthful, uncompromising, and unwavering And when people hear or read what this person has to say about the Word of God, they know that they have just received an authoritative communication from God.
The prophet also is a prayer warrior. They have no option because they see what is right in this world and in the church, and they see what is wrong in this world and the church, and they implore God to do what He needs to do to make it right.
Next we have the gift of ministry or some say service. Ministry involves compassionate love toward the needy within the Christian community It is seeing a need and meeting it. This gift was very visible in the early church as we read in the Book of Acts of people selling their excess possessions and dividing the proceeds among the needy in their midst.
But this gift is more than just meeting material needs. It also involves the ministry of the Word. Here the gifted individual sees a spiritual need and is able to apply the healing balm of God’s Word. The gift of ministry then is the application of compassionate love in deed or word toward the needy among the saints.
It is using the Word of God as bread for the needs of the soul, and using our God-given bread for the needs of the body. Do not suppress this gift, lest our church become like the Levite and the priest who leaves the wounded man in the ditch to die.
Those with the gift of ministry are typically capable with their hands. They’re good mechanics, carpenters, cooks, sewers. They are skilled and anxious to use their skills to help the needy in their midst. They change oil for single moms, they decorate and clean the church.
Next is the gift of teaching. Believers, need to be taught and God has gifted His church with people who have the ability to help us increase our understanding of the things of the kingdom.
This is what Jesus did with His disciples. He often prefaced His parables with, “the kingdom of God is like.....” and then He would use everyday occurrences in life as “teachable” moments for His students. A teacher subtly and patiently shapes the will of the student, by demonstrating the proper and therefore better way of doing things.
They know how to make a point and they know how to get the student to try it! Teachers must know the Word of God and how to apply it, and then be gifted to pass that knowledge on to others in the Body of Christ. I may say I have the gift of teaching, but if nothing changes in your life...then I have not been able to get the point across.
Next on the list is the gift of exhortation. To exhort is to comfort or encourage. The very fact that God would give such a gift to the Body of Christ should tell us something about our Christian walk. There are times when brothers and sisters need encouragement!
Now we aren’t talking about mindless cheerleaders here, who hand out atta boys like candy on Halloween, although that’s part of the gift! We are talking about people who have the knack for finding that passage in Scripture that a brother or sister needs to hear to be encouraged or comforted and then brings it to them.
Cheerleading and “atta” boys are fine, but it is from the Scriptures that we find our true source of hope and comfort. As Paul writes in Rom 15:4, “That we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
So if you have this gift, get to know the Scriptures, use them as a source of encouragement for yourself and look for opportunities to use them as a source of encouragement for others. Who knows, you may have the much needed gift of exhortation!
Do you like giving rah rahs and atta boys to others...then take it to the next level. Get into the Scriptures and put some spiritual kick into your atta boys with words of comfort and exhortation from God’s Word!
By the way, if you are on the receiving end of encouragement. Don’t play it down. Receive it! When you put it down with false humility or stubbornness, you discourage your brother and sister from using this wonderful gift.
Next on the list is giving. This is the God-given ability to cheerfully share material possessions. We are not talking about tithing here. Some people may think they have the gift of giving as they cheerfully tithe every week, but tithing is every believers responsibility!
Let me exercise my gift of prophecy here and remind you that a lack of tithing is the equivalent of robbing God! But this kind of giving here in Romans, is manifested in giving over and above the tithe.
These are people who see needs in the Body of Christ and meet them with discreet, sincere, and joyous generosity. Those so gifted exhibit faithful, Spirit-led benevolence. You can count on them to respond to the Holy Spirit’s leading in the matter of giving.
These people are the ones who pour the expensive perfume on the feet of Christ. Do not despise them as the disciples did. These people give because God gifted them to give! That is their only motivation. They do not give out of guilt or the coercion of men, or for their own glory.
But rather are coerced by the Holy Spirit and can’t help themselves! They give because they recognize their gift and desire to honor the one who bestowed that gift upon them. God has a special place in His heart for those who are willing to part with their God-given material possession. The Bible says, “God loves a cheerful giver.”
Next on the list is the gift of leadership. This gift has three facets. The first is the ability to preside or facilitate. These people know how to organize a meeting and keep it on track and moving along. Another facet of leadership is the ability to maintain. These are detail people. They know how to manage the day to day details of running the church.
Finally, there are visionaries. They know how to dream a course, set the course, and help steer it along the way. They know how to plug in all the other gifts to make the whole thing run smoothly. They are like an orchestra leader, who takes all the parts and turns it into a beautiful symphony.
Those who have this gift are encouraged here to exercise it with diligence! That means get on with it! Step forward and take your role! It is this gift that gives the church coordinated, purposeful movement as it finds it’s niche and carries out ministry in the name of Jesus, bringing glory to the Father.
How beautiful is the Body of Christ when all of it’s gifts are organized and functioning under gifted leaders.
Finally, we have the gift of mercy. The Zodiates Greek/Hebrew Key Study Bible says this about mercy. “To extend help for the consequence of sin.” All Christians are to be merciful, but some have an extra measure of this gift. This gift from God is the ability to extend mercy to others with quick willingness, eager readiness, liveliness.
Many times new members are added to the Body of Christ after being ravaged by the consequences of sin. Aids, post abortion syndrome, alcohol and drug abuse. divorce, etc. God has placed gifted people in the Body of Christ who are capable of ministering to such people.
Repentant members of the Body of Christ need mercy not judgement. Those with the gift of mercy never excuse sin, but they have the ability to help people deal with the consequences of sin. They know how to help those broken by sin. They have the patience and the tender touch to help put Humpty Dumpty back together.
It’s interesting to note that as Don and Katie Fortune did spiritual assessments, they tested 1000 people over a period of 10 years in 100 different groups, and here is how the percentage of gifts broke down:
30% had the gift of mercy, 17% the gift of ministry, 16% were exhorters, 13% were leaders, 12% were prophets, 6% were givers, and 6% were teachers. God supplies what is needed in His church and mercy seems to be the number one need.
No wonder, in a world ravaged by sin, in a church that no longer speaks against it, mercy is a great need because sin is running loose and doing great damage! There are many wounded people out there and in the church who need mercy from the effects of sin in their lives.
The exercise of these gifts is what gives meaningful motion to the body of Christ. I encourage you to keep placing yourself at the Lord’s service, as holy and acceptable tools in His hand, allowing His Word to transform you as you daily perform the tasks He brings your way.
In so doing your gift or gifts will surface, and we’ll get another oar in the water here at Living Word. Please remember, you do not “go to church”...you ARE the church! You have a role to play, seek it and do it!
Also remember God did not design you to do it all! Don’t feel guilty about not being a giver if you have the gift of mercy. Don’t feel like you are less a Christian because you can’t teach or preach! Don’t feel like you are any less a Christian or a member of a church because you are not handy! And don’t despise the gifts of others!
It’s not by accident that Paul uses the word “members” as he speaks of the Body of Christ. And I love the analogy that the Fortunes use in their book, “Discover Your God-given Gifts.” They actually took these gifts and assigned them to different parts of the human body.
The prophet is the eyes of the body. He sees black and white, light and darkness and portrays it to the rest of the body. Mt 6:22 "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.
23 "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (NKJV)
Do you see the need for a prophet in a congregation?
The gift of ministry is the hands of the body. Pr 31:20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. (NKJV)
The teacher is the mind of the Body - Processing truth and able to make it plain and understandable to others to the point where they actually start to live it.
The Exhorter is the mouth of the Body, Ac 13:15 And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, "Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on." They take from the law and prophets, the Word and use it to exhort others!
The giver is the arms of the Body, extending the reach of the Body through their God-given resources. I think of those who have given to support the radio ministry of Living Word, trying to extend the reach of God’s Word, or those who have given to the benevolent fund in order to reach out to others.
The Leaders are the shoulder of the Body, shouldering the responsibility of coordinating the whole thing and getting it to run smoothly.
Those who have the gift of Mercy are the heart of the Body. They love those broken by sin, and seek to minister to them with the compassion and love of the gentle Savior.
Eyes, hands, mind, mouth, arms, shoulders, and heart. Where would we be if just one of these parts were missing. Oh, we’d get by, (except for the loss of heart....no wonder the Bible says mercy triumphs over judgement!) but we wouldn’t be as efficient or attractive as we should be. Friend, do not neglect the gift that God planted in you at conception.
Which one of these parts of the body is you? Don’t you dare say none, because you make God out to be a liar. Seek your gift by being pliable in His hands.
You won’t find your gift of prophecy by averting your eyes from the Word of God.
You won’t find your gift of ministry by clenching your hands.
You won’t discover your gift of teaching by closing your mind to God’s truth,
You won’t find your gift of exhortation by shutting your mouth.
You won’t find your gift of giving by folding your arms so they won’t reach for your wallet.
You won’t find your gift of leadership by shrugging your shoulders waiting for someone else to do it,
And you won’t discover your gift of mercy by hardening your heart to the cries of those suffering from the sin in this world.
Friends, we’ve been at this since 1999, it’s time we all began to get our feet wet as we step out in these different areas. Remember these steps.
1. Get right with God...commit your life to Jesus Christ
2. Daily receive His cleansing from sin so you can be an appropriate tool in His hands.
3. Allow Him to transform your mind by reading His Word
4. Present yourself to Him for His service.
5. Look for opportunities to be a prophet, a minister. a teacher, an encourager, a giver, a leader, or a Good Samaritan. As you do these things you will find areas that give you great joy and satisfaction. These are likely areas of your giftedness. And God will use others along the way to confirm the gift as they notice it in you.