What Gifts Do You See in Others?

young women talking

“You have a teaching gift. Don’t ever let anyone take that away from you.” These words, shared by seasoned missionaries I worked with, respected, and deeply trusted were spoken over me as I finished my year as an intern at a mission center and prepared to dive into the unknown realm of seminary. After spending a year working with these sweet friends, I valued their words, and I believed them. I had a gift to use, a gift given by the Holy Spirit, but I needed someone to help me see it. Over the next few years, I would hold on to that affirmation, knowing the confidence instilled in me through their words was from God. Those words pushed me to follow my calling, even when it was challenging or seemed to be far above my abilities.

A few years later, through a series of divinely ordained events, I found myself in this same mission center but in a different role. This time, I was the one leading, overseeing the summer camp ministry and giving direction to the interns, volunteers, and missions teams. One evening, I sat down with one of the missions team leaders and had the opportunity to affirm her gifts and encourage her in her leadership as she dealt with a difficult situation on her team. It was a holy moment and a cherished memory, and I can’t help but think I might never have been ready to affirm her gifts when she needed it if someone hadn’t affirmed my gifts when I needed it.

To those in whom the Spirit resides, God has given great gifts: gifts of teaching, proclaiming, discernment, faith, service, and so much more. The Holy Spirit empowers us to do the good things He has ordained for us to do and shows us the unique part we have in the body of Christ. But God has also made us to need each other. We don’t have to walk alone; we don’t have to try to figure out what gifts we have and how to use them on our own. We have each other, brothers and sisters in Christ who encourage us in kingdom work. We help each other see how our gifts complement each other and how we can best work together to spread the gospel. What a precious gift from above!


Affirm Spiritual Gifts in Others

  • If you notice a spiritual strength in someone, then tell them. They may not know God has gifted them in this area or they may not yet be confident in that gift. Affirm them in the ways you see the Spirit using them, and push them to confidently pursue the calling God has for them.
  • Give them opportunities to use their gifts. This may require creativity, but ask the Spirit for wisdom. Invite them to work alongside you and others, and watch their gifts and ministry flourish.
  • Encourage them to grow in their relationship with God. Spiritual gifts are wonderful and have incredible purpose. But if we have knowledge, skill, or anything else without love, it is worthless. Encourage others to continue growing in their relationship with Christ, and watch God deepen their gifts and use them for His glory.

Selah Ulmer is a recent seminary graduate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


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