While there are many different spiritual gifts, the Bible tells us that each of these separate gifts have equal value in God’s eyes (Romans 12:3-8).

But how do we know what gift God has given us? And how can we know how He wants us to use it?

The Holy Spirit is the one who empowers us with gifts, and He is ready to guide us in their proper use, if we ask. A heartfelt prayer for God’s guidance is always the first step. 

This point is illustrated in the story of Solomon, one of the famous kings of Israel. Solomon came to the throne when he was still young. One night, in a dream, God came to Solomon and asked what kind of blessing Solomon wanted from Him.

Solomon, rather than asking for great wealth or victory in battle, asked for understanding and the ability to discern between good and evil. God granted Solomon’s request, blessing him with honor and wealth as well, and Solomon went on to become one of the wisest kings ever known (1 Kings 3:5-14).

 After asking God for guidance with our spiritual gifts, it’s a good idea to spend some time in reflection. What about your personality and behavior patterns might reveal some hidden or overlooked strengths?

 As we pray daily, God may bring us into situations that help us discover the ways we’re gifted. 

We can also turn to trusted sources to help us on our journey as well. One idea is to ask the advice of those who are close to God, who we trust, and who know us well. They might be able to point out things we excel at that we might have missed on our own. 

But overall, we must keep our eyes open and be ready to hear God’s voice. If someone needs help, we should be ready to lend a hand. The simple act of stepping in and helping someone can reveal the skills God gave us.

Our spiritual gifts can be a key component in our growth in Christ, and it only makes sense that we’re supposed to use them responsibly. But what if we don’t? What happens when we put our spiritual gifts toward selfish ambition, or choose not to use them at all?

In Matthew 25, Jesus told a parable about a master who had three servants. The master was going on a journey and wanted to make sure his money would be in good hands.

To the first servant, he entrusted five “talents,” or units of money. To the second servant he gave two talents. To the third, he gave one. Then he went away.

While he was gone, the first two servants immediately set to work, putting their master’s property to use. The servant with five talents made five more. The servant with two talents made two more. But the servant who had been given one talent went out, dug a hole, and buried his master’s money.

When the master returned, he called his servants to him to find out what they’d done with his property while he was gone.

The first two servants came and presented themselves before him, showing their master how they had made good use of what he had given them, and the master praised them as “good and faithful servants.”

Then the third servant explained that he knew the master stern and he didn’t want to disappoint anyone or mess things up. So, since he didn’t want to lose the property, he buried the one talent so nothing would happen to it.

The master was angry and rebuked the servant for being wicked and lazy. Then he took the servant’s talent away and gave it to the one whom he had entrusted with five talents.

Just like the servants in the story, we’ve all been entrusted with God-given talents and skills. It’s up to us to make good use out of them, and God will help us along the way.

But if we sit on them, refusing to discover how God might use us, we might as well not have the gift at all.

We see a similar situation in the book of Numbers, dealing with a man named Balaam (Numbers 22-24). Balaam had the ability to pronounce blessings and curses on people. The king of Moab came to him and asked that Balaam pronounce a curse upon the children of Israel so that he could defeat them in battle.

God specifically told Balaam that he was not to do this, for God had blessed the children of Israel. Ballam ignored God’s warnings and went all the same, but when he got to the place where the Israelites were camped, God caused him to speak only blessings. Balaam’s spiritual gift was no longer under his control.

The story of the talents and the story of Balaam illustrate a very clear point. Our spiritual gifts come from God. If we take our talents, our spiritual gifts, and use them wisely, we are being good stewards of the gifts God gave us.

But if we misuse our talents, by spending them selfishly or hiding them away, then we’re being just as lazy as the wicked servant. If that’s the case, God may take our spiritual gifts and give them to someone who will use them.

But it’s our choice. If we choose to use our spiritual gifts the way God calls us to, we can end up being an incredible blessing.

Scripture makes it clear time and again that God is the ultimate gift-giver (Luke 11:13). He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He wants us to be a blessing to the world.

The thought of possessing God-given abilities may seem intimidating, as if we’re afraid we might use our gifts the wrong way.

Fortunately, however, God is the guide for our spiritual gifts. Since it is the Holy Spirit that empowers us with these abilities, we don’t have to worry about our own insecurities or limitations. God can use a willing person for amazing things, simply because they have faith in Him.

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10, ESV).

--The following is an excerpt from www.adventist.org/spiritual-gifts-and-ministries/