Serving Outside of Your Spiritual Gifts

Have you ever taken a spiritual gifts test? For those who haven’t, it’s a test that helps you discern what gifts God has given you. Often they affirm what you already know, but sometimes they show you a gift that you had never considered.

Years ago, I took a spiritual gifts test in my high school youth group. All I can remember from the experience is that one of my male friends, who did nothing but talk and think about girls, “got” the gift of celibacy. We were a little young to take one of these tests accurately; but despite our immaturity, it did plant in our minds the idea that we each had our place in God’s kingdom.

I got to thinking about spiritual gifts because of a post by Juan Sanchez at The Gospel Coalition. Sanchez writes that the question we should be focusing on is “How can I serve the body?” rather than “What are my spiritual gifts?” His point is that once we know what our gifts are, there’s a tendency to hold hold on to them as if they were the only things we’re allowed to do. Here’s his main thought:

Once we believe we have found the answer (”I have the gift of ___________.”), it will limit how, where and when we serve. For example, I may have the gift of teaching (so it has been affirmed by others), but that is not the limits of my service. Can you imagine if we were breaking down after a church-wide meal and other brothers were moving tables and chairs, then they looked at me to assist them, but I said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I’m THE teacher! That’s my spiritual gift; I don’t do tables and chairs.” That would not be Christian; it would not be helpful; and I would not blame the guys throwing a few chairs in my direction.

I still think it’s still worthwhile to know our gifts, but Sanchez’s point is well-taken. Just because you’re good at one thing doesn’t mean you can’t help with another.

For me, whenever I take a spiritual gifts test it more often than not shows me spiritual areas where I haven’t spent time recently. In general, the things you’re particularly “good” at aren’t going to change too much, but our “lesser” gifts are areas in which we can stretch ourselves.

Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? How often do you serve outside of your gifts?

If you’re interested in taking a spiritual gifts test, I ran across this one this morning at

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