I still can’t completely wrap my brain around the Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three, and yet they’re one. Not just “One with three aspects.” Not just “Three in perfect unity.” Really three. Really one. Weird. Cool, but weird.
But as I get to know Him/Them, I find that they have three different personalities as well. And the gifts that they give are different as well.
The most common gifts that we talk about are the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12, there is a list of His gifts:
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifta] Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. of healing by the samea]">[ .
Note that these gifts are manifestations of the Spirit. Just as the gifts that you give reflect the person you are as a giver, so these gifts reflect the person of the Holy Spirit. As manifestations, these are things that happen when the Holy Spirit manifests, or shows up, in our lives. There is no discussion of us “having” these gifts; instead, He has them, and wherever He is, they’re likely to show up. In you, for instance.
In Ephesians 4, there are gifts given by Jesus:7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it[a] says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men."[b] 9(What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
The passage is talking about Christ, and then it says “It was he who gave” these gifts. These gifts are people, they’re for a purpose, and – like the manifestations of the Spirit in the passage above – are for the church. Again, these are not gifts that we might have, but gifts that we might be, and they’re very goal oriented: to prepare God’s people to reach particular goals, goals which are a whole study in themselves.
Not to be left out, in Romans 12 God Himself gives His own group of gifts.
…God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[a]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
These gifts – sometimes called “Motivational gifts” – reflect how Father God has created us to function. These are the only gifts that we “have” and we are instructed to use them, and to use them in a particular way, implying of course, that we could use them in a different way. These gifts are resident in us, part of our makeup, built into us by the grace of God, and as a result of the measure of faith that He’s given us. As faith can grow, so can our effectiveness in these gifts.
Note that some gifts have analogs in all three lists, like prophecy, others in two lists, like teaching, and others in only one, such as giving.
While those of us who have been in the kingdom since the days of the Jesus People will find this old and redundant, there is a new generation rising into maturity in the church that mostly has not been schooled in these subjects. I'm thinking that it's time we review the subject.