There has been some discussion on the difference between a natural talent and a spiritual gift. For some of the gifts the distinction is not clear. We need to remember, all the abilities we have do come from God in some way or another. Traditionally, when thinking about natural abilities we assume these come genetically, through our parents. Many great engineers, artists, teachers, etc. have come from families who have excelled in these areas. On the other hand, a spiritual gift comes from God, independent of heritage or parentage. Taking this further, a natural talent has been there from the beginning but a spiritual gift manifests itself after conversion.
Another way natural talents can be confused with spiritual gifts is the fact that both must be discovered, cultivated and practiced in order to grow and mature in them. Likewise, whether we have a natural talent of a spiritual gift; we need to use it for the benefit of others. Natural talents should be used for the benefit of all mankind and spiritual gifts for the building up of the church. “A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial” ( 1 Corinthians 12:7).
I believe God regularly takes natural talents and transforms them into spiritual gifts. I believe this happens most of the time. There was a craftsman by the name of Bezalel. He was a craftsman already, but read what God told Moses about him. “I have filled him with God’s Spirit, with wisdom, understanding, and ability in every craft to design artistic works in gold, silvers and bronze, to cut gemstones for mounting, and to carve wood for work in every craft” (Exodus 31:3-6). God took a natural talent, granted it was from God in the beginning, and then God made it a gift of the Spirit. On the other hand, I have also been told by others God gave them a spiritual gift which before salvation they had no natural giftedness in that area.
What does all of this have to do with evangelism? When you think about sharing your faith your way, understanding how God has gifted you and how his Holy Spirit works to empower you in your life is key to your unique way of evangelism. It is God’s perfect way of evangelism for you. God can and will use your giftedness to build up the church and to relay your faith with others. Don’t discount any of your abilities to be used by God.
Posted on Mon, March 23, 2009
by Jimmy Kinnaird