You’ve heard of spiritual gifts–those special abilities the Holy Spirit endows, which equip us to serve others. Teaching, prophecy, discernment, and healing are examples. Altogether, the apostles Peter and Paul listed at least twenty.
May I be so bold as to suggest there may be a few more spiritual gifts than those listed in the New Testament?
The Gift of Thoughtfulness
Oh, my. If I started listing the number of people who have this gift, I’d be writing through the night. But recently…
Donna and I were admiring a craft project created by a mutual friend–little dresses made out of dish towels, to hang over the oven door. I mentioned what fun it would be to make some of those myself, but I didn’t have a machine anymore.
“Then I want to give you mine,” she said. “Now that I’m living with Brenda” (her daughter), “I really don’t need it. I can use hers.”
In spite of protests (“You can sell it, Donna.”), she was insistent. So I now have a sewing machine!
In a world of greed and selfishness, such kindness is rare–except in the family of God where the spiritual gift of thoughtfulness abounds.
The Gift of Joy
All my friend, Grace, has to do is chuckle, and everyone nearby joins in. Hers is the most infectious laugh I’ve ever encountered. She also supplies plenty of material for laughter with her quick wit.
You’d never know to look at Grace’s smiling face and twinkling eyes that she frequently suffers pain. A case of shingles that never went away completely continues to cause problems. But Grace never complains.
How does she manage to spread so much cheer in the midst of suffering? It’s the spiritual gift of joy, I’m sure, bubbling up from a heart focused on Jesus.
The Gift of Chicken Soup
My husband, Steve, had just been released from the hospital, after a fever that defied explanation and aspirin. It finally broke, although its cause remained a mystery. After a few days he was released to come home. Meanwhile, while Steve was hospitalized, I suffered a brutal attack of stomach flu.
The two of us were sprawled on couch and recliner when Barbara called. “I’m making chicken soup for the two of you and bringing it over this afternoon,” she announced.
“Oh, no,” I quickly replied. “That won’t be necessary. We’re recouping fine.”
But Barbara didn’t buy it, and the delivery was made.
NEVER have I tasted such savory, flavorful chicken soup. By the end of the first bowl I felt strength returning to my limp arms and legs. By the second bowl, I was ready for jumping jacks.
OK, I’m exaggerating–but only slightly. That soup DID rejuvenate us! So, there’s the proof that the spiritual gift of chicken soup exists.
If we want to be technical, I suppose these gifts and others could be categorized under those listed in scripture. Exercising thoughtfulness like Donna is surely an example of generosity (Romans 12:8). Dispensing joy like Grace is part of the gift of encouragement (same verse). And Barbara’s chicken soup may very well be a manifestation of the gift of healing (1 Corinthians 12:28).
It’s true: “All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful” (1 Corinthians 12:7, The Message).
What unique spiritual gifts have you encountered? Share your story in the comment section below!