Good Morning Brothers and Sisters I have been asked to speak to you today about Spiritual Gifts.
According to the English dictionary a gift can be classified as either
1 : a notable capacity, talent, or endowment
2 : something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation
3 : the act, right, or power of giving
I’m sure that we are all familiar with receiving gifts and presents from others at Christmas time and on our Birthdays and we could all name the last gift we received in such manner. But are we familiar with the spiritual gifts each of us receive and indeed what they are?
Unlike presents we receive from others, Spiritual gifts are blessings or abilities given by God to us His children through the power of the Holy Ghost. These Gifts of the Spirit are given to us to help bless and benefit those of us who love the Lord and seek to keep His commandments. The Lord has many gifts that he desires to bestow upon us but in order to receive them we must live worthy life’s, by living the teachings of the church, by praying and by having faith that the gifts we receive are ones we need, whether that need is clear to us now or may become clear at some future point. Some times we may not even be aware of spiritual gifts that we have received and we must discover these gifts or talents that we have been given. After finding them we must then seek to develop and use them.
We are encouraged in (D&C 46:8). To "seek earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given" The scriptures teach of many gifts of the Spirit:
Moroni says that these gifts come from Christ, by the power of the Holy Ghost and the Sprit of Christ. So we should not underestimate or take lightly the gifts that we receive.
Elder Bruce R McCONKIE comments in his book “ Mormon Doctrine” that
“ Their purpose is to enlighten, encourage and edify the faithful so that they will inherit peace in this life and be guided toward eternal life in the world to come. Their presence is proof of the divinity of the Lord’s work; where they are not found, there the church and the kingdom of God is not”
So we know that spiritual gifts are important and that we should each be seeking the best ones available to us. From the writings of Paul, of Moroni and the revelations received by Joseph Smith we can gain a clearer understanding of spiritual gifts and how they operate.
In a talk in the November 1987 Ensign Elder Marvin J Ashton lists a few of these God given gifts, The Gift to Ponder, The Gift to Look to God for Direction, The Gift to Hear and Use the Small Voice, The Gift to Calm and The Gift to Care. After considering these gifts I began to see how true his statement was from this same talk that some gifts are not always evident or held in high esteem by the world but are nevertheless real, valuable and important.
The Gift to look to God for Direction is a good example of this. This is such a simple and obvious gift that is available to all, but in times of trial and when things seem their darkest do we make use of this gift? The blessings of spiritual comfort and blessing of knowing that if we look to our Savior Jesus Christ and endure to the end, eternal life and exaltation can be ours if we seek to develop this talent
It can be easy for any of us to loose our tempers sometimes, after all we are only Human, and some of us are able to easily calm ourselves. But how about those who are able to calm others, who can step into the middle of the deepest contention and bring peace to those around them. The Gift to Calm is described by Elder Ashton as a majestic gift, and it is. Peace is a tool of the saviour. Peace will bring love and love will bring eternal progression.
It amazes me sometimes to look around the chapel to see the different kinds of people that the gospel brings together. If it weren’t for the gospel would we all know each other or likely interact? Would we notice if others weren’t there or care. It’s unlikely, but that’s another part of the gospel we should be thankful for as we are surrounded by people who may be very different from us in personality and temperament, yet they have the gift to care. They notice and care if we are not at Church and seek us out to check we are okay and if there is anything they can do to help.
There are other gifts that are listed in the Scriptures, The Gift of Tongues, The gift of interpretation of Tongues, The gift of Translation, The gift of Wisdom, the gift of Knowledge, the Gift of Teaching Wisdom and Knowledge, the gift of healing, the Gift of Knowing that Jesus Christ of is the Son of God. The Gift of Faith. The List goes on, and the few gifts I have mentioned form only a small number of the total list of spiritual gifts that can be found in the scriptures. The Lord blesses us in many ways according to our faithfulness and our needs and the needs of those people we serve. Although we might have the same gift as another, it might affect our lives in very different ways depending on our own needs and circumstances.
Of all of the gifts that I have listed the one which struck me the most as I researched this talk is the Gift of Faith. In some ways it is less noteworthy then some of the other gifts I have listed. It seems like such a simple word but we live in a time where Faith is a rare commodity. Where Science promises answers to questions but these answers can seem to change on a daily basis. Where many are not willing to believe in anything they can not see with their own eyes. Faith is why we are here today at Church. We all need Faith because without it no other gift can be given. We are promised in Mormon 9:21 that
“Whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him”
We should always be working to increase our faith. Faith forms the bedrock in order for us to receive other gifts that the Lord may have for us. We need to use our gifts to strengthen our testimonies and to help each other and to help the Church move forward as we strive to help build up the Kingdom of God.
Priesthood blessings such as an ordination, patriarchal blessing, or a setting apart may reveal to us our specific gifts or talents. Magnifying our gifts and talents enables us to function more integrally within the body of the Church and avoid being like the slothful and unwise servant in the parable of the talents. But we should remember that our gifts of the Spirit are special and Sacred and as it states in Doctrines and Covenants 84:73
“, “A commandment I give unto them, that they shall not boast themselves of these things, neither speak them before the world; for these things are given unto you for your profit and for salvation”
We must take care never to misuse spiritual gifts. As the Prophet Joseph Smith taught, when spiritual gifts “are applied to that which God does not intend, they prove an injury, a snare and a curse instead of a blessing
In Doctrine and Covenants 46: verses 8 -12 it reads;
“And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church.
“For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
“To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby” (verses 8–12). “
So we should all know that God blesses us with gifts. They may not be easily noticeable, they may not be as immediately gratifying as a gift we may receive wrapped in paper . We may not even realise how important and real they are but we should seek to discover our own gifts and develop them. They may not be easy to develop but we should persevere because as we develop them we can benefit ourselves. We can benefit others and in turn we can benefit from their gifts in ways which like the gifts themselves may not be noticeable at first but will be very important and real in the end.