Serve Where You’re Gifted
This past week, my church continued their series called “Unpacking Hope.” This week our focus was on “serving where you’re gifted.” [Click HERE to watch the original message.] Then, just this morning…I received the following email from the Brave Girls Club:
“There is a beautiful and little known secret to happiness that it sometimes takes us way too long to finally learn….and it is one that we can start practicing today, fabulous friend.
When life feels overwhelming, upsetting or grim…we can instantly change our outlook on things by getting out and serving someone else. Somehow, when we turn our focus to someone else, and especially to making their load lighter, or their day brighter…it comes back to us ten times stronger even than what we put out.”
Pretty timely message, eh? Christian or not, serving others is one of those “little known secrets to happiness” that we often overlook…but it’s so powerful. Now, if you’re anything like me…it’s taken you a long time to identify your spiritual gift…or you’re still searching. Until recently, I didn’t know what my spiritual gift was…serving in multiple capacities until I really started listening to God (I’ve written about this before in previous posts and guest posts).
Spiritual Gifts RS You see, we each have a spiritual gift…or more simply put, the ability to serve others. I love this passage in 1 Corinthians (above) because it teaches us so much about our spiritual gifts. 
  1. If you are a Christ follower, you have a gift. 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.”
  2. You didn’t get your gift by accident – each gift is given with purpose…determined by God according to 1 Corinthians 12:11.
  3. Each gift is given for the common good of the church (not necessarily any specific brick and mortar church, but the church of God) – again, as referenced by 1 Corinthians 12:7.
  4. You are only accountable for developing and deploying the gifts that God has given you as an individual. We are not to worry about the gifts that God has not given you. I actually try to use this one to my benefit with regards to my lack of domestic skills…my husband isn’t buying it.
  5. Once you know your gifts and you begin to serve others where you are gifted, you’ll begin to experience huge rewards. Yes, it’s one of the little secrets to happiness…but there’s so much more.
So, we all have a gift…it’s not by accident…it’s to be used for the common good…we’re only accountable for our specific gifts…and if we use our gifts to serve others, the payoff is huge. Okay…but how do we go about identifying our gifts? Our church is actually going to be doing a class on Spiritual Gifts this soon, but here are the basic components to get you started:
  • Spiritual - the key here is spiritual.
  • Heart – what are you passionate about? Kids? Animals? Music?
  • Ability – what are your natural abilities? Perhaps you are a musician…how can that be used to serve God? Maybe you’re a teacher…could you teach a bible study? Or in my case, I have a natural gift with photography and writing…how does God want me to use that to serve HIM?
  • Personality - each us are wired a certain way. While I hate to pick on my husband, I’m going to do so for the sake of an example. He’s not exactly the most patient person, but he is passionate about helping other people. Therefore, I know that spiritual counseling/listening is probably not the best fit for him. But, he may be able to help others manage their finances.
  • Experiences – what kind of experiences have you had in your life? I think this plays into what I wrote a few weeks ago, “I’ve learned though that sometimes the greatest stories ever told are painful to read and certainly painful to live…but if we fast-forward to the end, we’ll never fully appreciate the journey.” God makes no mistakes. In fact, he often uses what we may call “mistakes” to help others down the road.  
Whatever your spiritual gift may be, the point is that we are all called to serve. Furthermore, Jesus has left us an example to follow (John 13:12-17):
After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.
What is your spiritual gift?
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Update: If you are interested in taking a spiritual gifts inventory, click HERE.

    So true! I’m still trying to figure out what my spiritual gift is. Problem is that I just don’t think about it or spend time with God about it enough. Thanks for this reminder!

    I also love the part about using our journey to help others. I always think maybe God will use my mistakes like that. :0)

    Okay, first of all, I absolutely adore the photo and scripture set. Truly fantastic. As far as the message… I know that God is working on this in my life right now. I know my gift is for working with young people, and I miss it so much! Just last night mom reminded me that the school is still short on volunteers (the kids go to lutheran school) so maybe I will finally find a place to serve again. I know I have also been feeling pulled toward doing more sharing of my faith on the blog again. I stopped doing that when it switched to photos… not intentionally by any means, but it has taken we a while to figure out how to make it all work together. Thanks to you and Amber I am getting there, though! :)

    I’ve found it hard to work out what my spiritual gifts are. It seems like some peoples gifts are more obvious than others, like yours for photography. As much as I love music, I don’t play an instrument, so I can’t can’t even say I share the gift of music with others, well unless when I have a dance floor full of people enjoying themselves when I dj, of course.

    Thank you for this post, Ashley, it couldn’t have come on a better day for me. I was struggling with finding a place to serve, and whether my gift was really what I thought it was. But this morning, an opportunity came up, and now that I am reminded again that this is where God wants me to be.

    I adore that image and the quote. :)

    Marla @

    I’m usually a straight up tie between exhortation and mercy…and the two really seem to work well together, just not for someone who’s relatively shy. Still trying to figure that one out! But I am a pretty compassionate person who doesn’t see anything as black and white.

    It only been a few years now that I truly know what this means. I’ve been so selfish before that. Thanks for the wonderful post!

    So true, thanks for the reminder. I’ve taken a couple of the tests before and usually score the highest on discernment, which seems to me like a harder one to exercise for the benefit of the body. I really enjoy hospitality, too, and really want to do more of that now that we’re getting settled.

    I know you spiritual gifting I have told you before =D you have the gifiting to TEACH!!!

    I love how you linked finding your gift with finding a way to serve. I find that many people can get caught up in the labeling and not in the serving. I pray God shows you clearly your gifts. We had to test multiple times because we were missionaries in Thailand for 8 years. I even found that there are gifts that God gives us, but also ones that will emerge over time as He stretches us further.

    This is great…and something I think about often. I think it would be awesome to take a group of photographers into the inner city {or any poverty-stricken area} and do family portraits for people who can’t even afford groceries.

    On a side note, I just saw Casting Crowns in concert and they were great! They even sang this song. :)

    Thank you SO much for this… you’re amazing.

    And Casting Crowns to end the post? — perfection. They’re my favorite Christian band. :)

    I have never thought about my spiritual gift. I’m not even kidding. I don’t know if I have any spiritual gifts to give other than my every day kindness.

    This all brings up such a powerful message to step outside of our comfort zones.

    PS. great quote/pic, too.


    This is a wonderful post Ashley.
    I truly enjoyed reading it (a few times!!).
    Love this image too!

    What a lovely reminder, I really love the passage. We all struggle to find our spiritual gifts sometimes but when you do realize what it is you have to offer others the feeling is quite like nothing else. I love your posts Ashley… really nice!!!

    LOVE this, friend! My gift is in the area of service. We clean a section of the church once a month, and also work in the nursery. I like helping in a behind-the-scenes capacitiy. Fantastic post…and looks like you encouraged a lot of people to think about where they can be used. ♥

    Great points! We all (Christians) should be serving the body and becoming more like Christ. Finding the place in the body God plans for us and using the gifts (Spiritual and natural) that He has given us to do our part with excellence and grace are an important part of our walk with God. Sometimes I’ve found we use our gifts to excuse not serving~”I’m not gifted in that area so it isn’t God’s plan”, but He calls and equips and often what our Spiritual gift is shouldn’t define what job we do so much as how we do it. Everyone can help in children’s ministry but some are teachers, some are administrators, some can help by cutting out circles or setting up chairs~we are all called to be like Jesus and love children. (Just an example.) Learning to exercise and use our Spiritual gifts is a lifelong process as is so much of Christianity. (My “Spiritual gift tests” always come back with Prophecy/Exhortation and teaching as the highest; but as we follow Christ we will all demonstrate some aspects of all of the gifts as we become more like Christ~as He has all of the gifts~though that doesn’t make them our Spiritual gift just part of our maturity as a Christian.)

    One of my all time favorite scriptures. So profound. Beautiful post, Ashley. Makes the wheels start turning for sure. And I love that you are trying to not be held accountable for your lack of domestic skills. Too funny!

    Ashley, you’ve outdone yourself. what an incredible post. i especially love point #2 — you didn’t get your gift by accident! God is always before, beside and behind. thank you.

    How cool, we both quoted this email in today’s posts! We were getting the same message, I guess. I love it when things like this happen… :)

    Hey! I totally already posted a comment to this, but Branson sent me over ;0).

    so well said…beautiful post.

    One of my favorite Casting Crowns songs (and CDs!). Their messages are very powerful.

    I took a class to find my gifts, but had work obligations come up. I know I desire to serve children. Orphans in particular call to my heart.

    One day I will go on a mission. :-)

    Love this post!

    What a beautiful post, Ashley, and a nice reminder too. Trying to figure out my spiritual gift is something I have been struggling with for soooo long now…almost to the point of frustration. Recently though, I started thinking that I may know the answer :)

    love those verses in corinthians! :)

    Ashley, this was amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this! Loved every bit of it and the beauty of it is that it a wonderful truth from God’s word.

    I read this yesterday, but never got to comment. Thank you so much for sharing! This is a really great message and wonderful reminder to use the gifts He has given me.

    For the common good of the whole church. Yes!! Totally agree. :D

    Loved this post.

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    love your hand photos, so beautiful

    I have been thinking on this SO much lately in the past few weeks.
    This was the sermon topic on Sunday from our preacher(coincidence…I think not) and I just sat there in rapt attention soaking the idea in and setting my wheels to turning on how to best serve with my gifts.

    The other thing that really hit me was in a companion passage.(composing a blog post about it in my mind, still roughing it out)
    1 Pet.4:11 …whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ to whom belongs the glory…

    WOW…I feel like I have the serving part down pat, that has been my intention.
    I want to change that.
    I want my overriding intention to be that God is glorified through my service.
    Sigh….off to think on that some more.
    Thanks for getting my thought wheels going again!

    Great post and your wonderful hand photo fits perfectly with your encouraging words.

    I just love it.

    This is just a beautiful post. One that hit me in the heart today and is just refriming what I needed to know. How unique we all are and he made us so . Love this.
    Great way to reach out and touch so many hearts that need to be touched.

    LOVE this post. I’ve been told (and have come to realize on my own) that my spiritual gift is encouragement. I hate to see people feeling down, strive for peace and contentment, and like to give people some pep to our talks. :) I’m in the same boat as you as far as photography goes. I’m still working out how to best use that, but for now I feel like I’m using it to encourage others just by starting up my own business and taking portraits and doing weddings. Anyway, great food for thought and I’ll definitely ponder this!