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Gifts and Callings

Gifts” are those things that are freely or graciously given, think of the Christmas gifts you may have been given as a child. “Callings” are those things someone has summoned or invited another to do. In this instance, the gifts and callings come from God. God is the giver of the gifts and the initiator of the callings. These particular gifts and callings “can never be withdrawn”

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Romans 11:29 KJV

In the Christian faith, gifts and callings are important because they provide Christians with a framework for understanding their mission and value in the world. The idea of talents and callings, which has its roots in biblical teachings, is interwoven throughout holy writings and provides direction and inspiration for those who want to live lives that are in line with God's plan. We examine how these ideas continue to influence Christians' lives today as we delve into the rich tapestry of biblical references that provide light on the nature of gifts and callings.

Gifts in the Bible:

The Bible presents a comprehensive view of gifts, emphasizing their diverse nature and the purpose behind their bestowal. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul, in his letters to the Corinthians and Romans, extensively discusses spiritual gifts. In 1st Corinthians 12, Paul introduces the metaphor of the body, illustrating how different members have distinct functions but collectively contribute to the health and vitality of the entire body of Christ. This metaphor highlights the diversity of spiritual gifts, ranging from wisdom and knowledge to faith and healing.

Furthermore, Romans 12:6-8 enumerates various gifts, including prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, and mercy. Each believer, according to Paul's teaching, possesses unique gifts, and their exercise contributes to the well-being of the Christian community. The acknowledgement of individual gifts is crucial for fostering unity and ensuring the body of Christ functions harmoniously.

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.

Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches, on teaching.

Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6-8 KJV

According to Ephesians 4:11-13, Paul identifies specific leadership roles, such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers, as gifts bestowed by Christ to equip the saints for ministry. This passage underscores the idea that these leadership roles are not merely job titles, but divine gifts designed to edify and build up the church.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors, and teachers.

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: Ephesians 4:11-13 KJV

Callings in the Bible

The Bible defines calling as a heavenly call to a certain manner of life, service, or purpose. It goes beyond professional or career goals. In Genesis 12:1-3, Abraham—often referred to as the father of faith—was given a serious calling. God gives him the command to leave his nation and go to a place that God will reveal to him. God established a covenant with Abraham at the time of this calling, vowing to bless and use him as a blessing to all peoples.

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing:

And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Genesis 12:1-3 KJV

It was the divine calling of prophets such as Jeremiah and Isaiah to bring God's word to the Israelites. The core of a divine calling is succinctly expressed in Jeremiah 1:5, which states, "I appointed you as a prophet to the nations; before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." This verse highlights God's deliberate plan and purpose for each person even before they are born.

“Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 KJV

A transforming calling is best shown by the dramatic meeting that the apostle Paul had on the way to Damascus. Paul, who had been persecuting Christians, had a dramatic transformation and started ardently following Christ. This incident is described in Acts 9, underscoring the significance of a calling that has the power to change a person's destiny.

The intersection of Gifts and Callings:

Biblical accounts of individuals such as Moses demonstrate the interaction between gifts and callings. After Moses sees the burning bush in Exodus chapters three and four, he is called by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses is first reluctant and self-conscious, but God reassures him by pointing out the talents he has been given, such as the rod that turns into a serpent and his ability to accomplish miraculous wonders. This meeting point of callings and talents emphasises how divine purpose is manifested in preparing people for their specific roles.

Jesus' mission in the New Testament serves as an example of how talents and calling may coexist together. His lectures, healings, and deeds of kindness show how heavenly talents are used to help him complete his mission to save mankind. For Christians, Jesus' life is the greatest example, demonstrating the harmony that results from realising and using one's skills under a divine calling.

Practical Implications for Christians:

Today's Christians may benefit from a biblical understanding of talents and callings. Identifying and developing spiritual talents requires introspection, prayer, and seeking the Holy Spirit's direction. "Use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms," is how the apostle Peter exhorts Christians 1 Peter 4:10. This emphasises the need to exercise stewardship while using gifts for the benefit of others.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10, NIV

In addition, determining one's calling requires being open to hearing from God, reflecting in prayer, and consulting other Christians for guidance. Faithful people are urged in Proverbs 3:5–6 to "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." The basis for identifying and pursuing one's calling is faith in God's direction.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your understanding.

In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Spiritual gifts and their relevance for today.

Prophecy: The ability to speak forth the messages of God for edification, exhortation, and comfort (1 Corinthians 12:10, 1 Corinthians 14:1-3).

Teaching: The capacity to effectively communicate and explain the truths of God's Word (Romans 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:28).

Wisdom: The ability to apply knowledge and experience in a way that brings about godly insight and discernment (1 Corinthians 12:8).

Knowledge: A deep understanding of spiritual truths and the ability to apply them in practical ways (1 Corinthians 12:8).

Faith: An extraordinary trust in God and His promises, often manifested in situations that require supernatural confidence (1 Corinthians 12:9).

Healing: The ability to bring about physical or emotional healing through prayer and faith (1 Corinthians 12:9).

Miracles: The capacity to perform supernatural acts that defy the laws of nature, demonstrating the power of God (1 Corinthians 12:10).

Discernment: The ability to distinguish between spirits, recognizing the source and nature of spiritual influences (1 Corinthians 12:10).

Speaking in Tongues: The ability to speak in languages unknown to the speaker, often accompanied by the gift of interpretation (1 Corinthians 12:10, 1 Corinthians 14:1-28).

Interpretation of Tongues: The ability to interpret messages spoken in tongues so that the congregation can understand and be edified (1 Corinthians 12:10, 1 Corinthians 14:1-28).

Administration/Leadership: The ability to effectively lead, organize, and guide others in the service of God (1 Corinthians 12:28, Romans 12:8).

Mercy: A compassionate and caring spirit, with special sensitivity to those who are suffering or in need (Romans 12:28)

Individuals from the Bible who are often called by God to specific roles or purposes

Prophetic Calling (e.g., Isaiah): Isaiah was called to be a prophet, delivering messages from God to the people.

Apostolic Calling (e.g., Peter): Jesus called Peter and other disciples to be apostles, spreading the Gospel and establishing the early Christian Church.

Priestly Calling (e.g., Aaron): Aaron and his descendants were called to serve as priests, intermediaries between God and the people.

Messianic Calling (e.g., Jesus): Jesus is seen as the fulfilment of the Messianic calling, being the Savior and Redeemer.

Kingly Calling (e.g., David): David was called to be the king of Israel, leading the nation under God's guidance.

Missionary Calling (e.g., Paul): The Apostle Paul had a missionary calling, travelling extensively to spread the Christian message.

Parental Calling (e.g., Abraham and Sarah): Abraham and Sarah were called to be the parents of a great nation, and their descendants played a significant role in biblical history.

Servant Calling (e.g., Moses): Moses was called to serve as a leader and deliverer, leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.

Wisdom Calling (e.g., Solomon): Solomon was granted wisdom by God and called to be a wise and just king.

Hospitality Calling (e.g., Lydia): Lydia, mentioned in the New Testament, was called to show hospitality and support to Paul and his companions in Philippi.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Do you know that you have a gift?

Do you think you are gifted in more than one area?

Do you work as a volunteer in the church office, teach Sunday school, lead prayer in your church, or serve as an elder or deacon?

Do you offer up prayers for other people?

The biblical examination of gifts and callings weaves a beautiful tapestry of divine intentionality, demonstrating God's goal for every believer to have a special and significant part in the overall story of redemption. The Bible provides valuable insights into the meaning and purpose of spiritual gifts and callings, whether they are expressed as a calling that guides a person's life or as spiritual gifts that support the growth of the Christian community.

The biblical concepts of talents and callings serve as a compass for Christians as they go through life, pointing them toward a fulfilling existence. Utilizing introspection, prayer, and a dedication to using their talents for the good of others, followers of Christ may set out on a path of transformation that is consistent with God's purpose of redemption for mankind

Spiritual abilities can be used in a variety of ways to draw people nearer to God and demonstrate His love. Regarding your spiritual gift, pray. Seek God's assistance in realizing the unique gift He has bestowed upon you. Seek the help of God in using your spiritual abilities to point people towards Him.

Starting this insightful journey by reading this article may lead to a world of inspiration and knowledge. This article contains timeless wisdom, a variety of viewpoints, and deep truths that may enlighten the intellect and uplift the spirit. Read and be blessed with knowledge and enlightenment.

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