A new level of understanding other people opened to me when I began studying the seven motivational gifts mentioned in Romans 12:6-8:
God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift if that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Simply put, the seven gifts are:
- prophet – easily detects right from wrong, sees choices as either black or white
- server – enjoys working with his hands and helping others
- teacher – loves to read, research, and impart that knowledge to others
- encourager – longs to see others live victorious lives, enjoys counseling and telling stories to help others understand how to apply truth
- giver– finds joy in sharing resources (money, time, energy, material goods)
- administrator – has big vision, is analytical, and detail-oriented
- compassion – feels others’ pain and is eager to help those in difficult situations
A couple of years ago I received an email from a friend in response to one I’d sent her a few days prior. Rather than answering a question I’d asked, she told me that my message contained a punctuation error. When I asked her what it was, she told me to find it. “Discovering it yourself will help you learn and remember more effectively than if I simply tell you what it is,” she said.
My first thought was Is she playing some sort of game with me? Then I said, “I don’t have time for this.”
I felt annoyed. And she felt hurt.
Months later, I began an in-depth study into these motivational gifts. To my amazement, I learned that people gifted in teaching are sometimes known to correct punctuation and spelling in letters and emails! I thought about my friend—her interests (reading), her passion (researching topics related to health and wellness), and her career choice (teaching).
I realized, with chagrin, how quickly I’d judged my friend for disrespecting my time when she was, with complete sincerity, looking out for my best interest. I contacted her and apologized for my attitude.
Understanding these motivational gifts—their weaknesses and their strengths alike—helps us better understand our spouse, our kids, and our coworkers. It helps us better understand ourself and how God has hardwired us to operate within His kingdom most effectively.
Have you done a study on these gifts? If not, I recommend reading Don and Katie Fortune’s book, Discover Your God-Given Gifts. I also teach on this subject, so give me a call if you’re interested in having me speak at your next event.
Have a wonderful day!