To a certain extent a person’s spiritual gifts define his or her place in the local church. In other words, to discover spiritual gifts is to discover where the Lord wants you to function in the body. Have you ever been asked to be involved in an area for which you just had no passion or interest? Do you know people who have accepted church positions only to resign partway through the church year because they feel that they are the wrong person for the job? Most likely in these situations, people have been asked to undertake, and in some instances have tried to become involved in, a church ministry to which they are neither called nor are gifted for. Though this does happen, it doesn’t have to be the norm.1
Read Acts 13:1–3. What happened here, and what does it tell us about the importance of being called to a ministry?
It is significant that the Holy Spirit is the one who calls us to minister for God. Barnabas and Saul were called by the Spirit and equipped by the same Spirit. Verse 2 gives us some important information. It reveals that Barnabas and Saul were already involved in ministering for the Lord before they were called for a specific ministry. We know that it was a specific ministry because Simeon and Manaen were not called at this time.
Just before Jesus left the earth, He promised that the Holy Spirit would come to be our Helper. Part of the Spirit’s work is to equip us to spread the gospel. If, therefore, He gives us gifts to accomplish the evangelistic task, then they are surely important, and we need to exercise them.
When we understand why the Spirit gives spiritual gifts, we see how vital they are to the salvation of those we are to reach for Christ. Through the Holy Spirit’s calling and gifting, each believer is involved to varying degrees, and in diverse ways, in the great work of spreading the gospel.
Although sometimes we may designate some gifts as important or special, in reality all gifts are crucial to the life and mission of the church. While we sometimes place a gifted evangelist, preacher, or teacher on a pedestal, those with gifts that nurture and disciple are just as crucial.