What we need to distinguish is the difference between a NATURAL TALENT and a SPIRITUAL GIFT. A “natural talent” is an ability given by God to a person at birth and in time that talent is developed by using it. A Disc Jockey no doubt has a “musical talent,” which entails a love for music coupled with the ability to bless others with that talent. He may or may not be a true believer in Christ, for God endows all people with one or more talents. If one is a child of God, they should use their talent for the glory of God and for the blessing of mankind, and not to bring glory to themselves.

A good example of a talent used for the glory of God is seen in two men named Bezalel and Oholiab. We read of them in Exodus 31:1-6, “Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: ‘See, I have called by name Bezalel….I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in ALL KINDS OF CRAFTSMANSHIP, to make ARTISTIC DESIGNS for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze and in cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all KINDS OF CRAFTSMANSHIP. And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab…and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill” (NASB). These two men were SKILLED CRAFTSMEN and they used their God-given talent for the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness. If they had not been godly men, they could have used their talent for selfish reasons, but as devoted believers they used them to glorify God.

A “spiritual gift” is, as the word spiritual suggests, “spiritual in nature.” It too is “an ability given to one by God,” but it is only given to believers in Jesus Christ (who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit). The Apostle Paul makes this clear in the following scriptures, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren…there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit…to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good…one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills” (1st Corinthians 12:1, 4, 7, 11). It is important to see that the Holy Spirit gives EACH BELIEVER a gift and that each gift is given “for the common good”; in other words, to benefit ALL BELIEVERS.

I would encourage you to read verses 8-10, along with Romans 12:6-8 and Ephesians 4:11 to see a sample of the spiritual gifts that are given to believers who are fellow-members of the body of Christ. I had mentioned that spiritual gifts are “spiritual in nature,” which means they must be used “in the power of the Holy Spirit” for the “spiritual blessing of others.” For example, Ephesians 4:11-12 declare, “And He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the EQUIPPING OF THE SAINTS FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (NKJV). The purpose of all these gifts is to “prepare believers for works of service” so that the whole body of Christ will be “built up on their holy faith.” They are not to be used to draw attention to the person with the gift, but to draw attention to Christ and then to enable other believers to serve Christ in the sphere of service He has marked out for them.

In closing, I trust we see have seen the difference between a “natural talent” and a “spiritual gift.” I would like to give a simple illustration to bring this truth home. A man may have the “natural ability” to TEACH mathematics. But this does NOT mean that when he becomes a believer in Christ he will have the “spiritual gift of TEACHING.” The gift of teaching must, as we have seen, be imparted to him by the Spirit of God. In will involve a love for and knowledge of God’s Word. It will also include a real love for other believers and a keen desire to see them “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2nd Peter 3:18). These things do NOT come naturally as with a “natural talent”; they come by the power of the power of the Holy Spirit who, as we saw, “distributes to each one individually as He wills.” (306.4) (DO)