What are your spiritual gifts? Has the Holy Spirit ever surprised you with the grace to serve in a way you never imagined? Or taken your natural talent and empowered you to use it to honor God?
For me, writing was always about personal fulfillment, if not fame. The Holy Spirit transformed my desires, helping me surrender that natural talent to the Lord. My inherited talent became a charism dedicated to building up the Body of Christ for the glory of God. The charism of writing “empowers a Christian to be a channel of God’s creativity by using words to create works of truth and beauty that reflect the fullness of human experience and bring glory to God.” A magnificent mission!
My score on the charisms of the Holy Spirit
The change happened after I filled out a questionnaire revealing my charisms of the Holy Spirit. My spiritual life flourished, directing my natural talents more outward than inward.
Other gifts of mine teetered on the line between “mine” and “God’s.” My gift of administration, defined as “providing the planning and coordination needed to accomplish good things,” was not exclusively directed outward. I could accept the grace to seek the good of everyone involved in a ministry or project. At other times, I could just as easily use this gift to get my way without consulting or honoring God.
I scored high on discernment, the ability to sense the spiritual struggles of others. But my low score on mercy equaled a judgmental Christian, without the impetus for “practical acts of compassion to relieve their distress.”
Developing new charisms
The Lord develops new charisms to enhance the ones we have. I seek the charism of wisdom, that is, remarkable insight and creative solutions, to ensure my writing conveys God’s love effectively and consistently. The Holy Spirit surprises me with illuminating perception far beyond my ideas. I wrote about this in Holy Spirit Sandwich.
Many of our charisms complement those of others when we tag-team our strengths and weaknesses. When the remodeling of the parish classrooms took longer than expected, our religious education teachers taught home classes. I’m not a teacher. I gift I do have is the gift of hospitality, which “empowers a Christian to be a generous channel of God’s love by warmly welcoming and caring for those in need of food, shelter, and friendship.” A willing teacher without a place to teach came to our home and taught the teens, including mine. I set out refreshments every week instead of driving a carpool. Much more fun.
Encouragement and intercessory prayer
Those with the charism of encouragement, which “empowers a Christian to be an effective channel of God’s love–nurturing others through his or her presence and words of comfort, encouragement, and counsel,” need to support those in pastoral ministry trying to build Christian community.
The gift of intercessory prayer, which “empowers the intense prayer of a Christian for others to be the means by with God’s love and deliverance reaches those in need,” is essential to back up every other ministry, especially missionaries and those with charisms of healing and celibacy.
Do whatever it takes
When the charismatic evangelist teams up with an on-fire music ministry to present a new discipleship program to the parishioners, the synergy is dynamic. Yet a healing mass needs soft music to undergird the prayers of those with the charism of healing.
Those with the charism of service, defined as “personally doing whatever it takes to solve the problem and meet the need,” are essential to leadership. They are the ones God chooses to direct the overall efforts of a group to make the vision of a better future a reality. Servants and leaders roll up their sleeves and work together to serve the Lord.
How can the Holy Spirit transform your natural talents into charisms? Give you new ways to honor him? Pray for the answer only you can hear. He may surprise you.
(© 2017 Nancy H C Ward)