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A few weeks ago I again had the privilege of teaching the Gospel Doctrine class. The subject was gifts of the spirit. We touched on all the major ones with which we are familiar, such as the gift of healing, of prophecy, of speaking in tongues, of believing and of testifying.
Many people do not believe that they themselves might have any gifts so blessed and so amazing, although they definitely know that they exist.
Let us look at them more closely. The gift of healing may be more than we think, at first. Dramatic healings have taken place. We know that Christ could heal at a touch, or even from a distance. The New Testament is full of such instances and also full of instances of the gift of being healed. My favourite is always the woman who followed Jesus in the street to touch the hem of his garment, and be healed of her issue of blood. Every time He healed someone of any affliction, He said the same words, Thy faith hath made thee whole.
Perhaps that says far more than physical healing. Can we be spiritually healed, if our faith in Him is sufficient? It may not happen at once. It may be a process that comes to pass over a time, of believing and striving to understand, and to work at the incompleteness, with faith that we can be healed?
I cannot heal others illnesses. But perhaps with gentleness, patience, belief in them and in God, I can ease their pain or their fear? There is much loneliness in the world, lack of self belief, self respect, forgiveness both for ourselves and for others’ even of hope. The steady kindness and showing of respect can heal many wounds. The never turning away, taking the time to show belief and trust, not being too busy to listen, not carrying a grudge, not mocking or belittling, can work slow miracles.
Do you know people who make you feel better, just to see them? I do. And also I know people I dread seeing, for all the opposite reasons. Which of those am I?
Maybe the gift of tongues is not speaking a foreign language, but saying the right thing at the right time? Understanding what people mean, even if they are not very good at saying it? Understanding the heart rather than the lips? Finding the right praise for someone who needs it very much.
Patience. The faith to wait for things to work out, and trust that they will; to know when to intervene, and when not to? To know who needs help or advice, and who must be encouraged, but find their own way. The Holy Spirit will help us, but sometimes we have to ask Him. And over time we should learn to tell for ourselves. Many gifts come with prayer and work and more prayer. That is what spiritual gifts are.
There are also the abilities that come when we are given a calling that requires a talent we do not have. That is one of the reasons for a calling, to learn! And it may not come without a few failures along the way. Then you might also learn the gift of compassion, appreciation, forgiveness, and gratitude when you finally make it! And patience with those who don’t. And don’t ever to forget who gave you the gift, treasure it, magnify it, and thank Him for it.
The gift of prophecy. That could be a double-edged sword. I am not sure how much I would like to know ahead of time what is going to happen! I would rather have the gift of trusting that God knows, and can turn it to use, if I listen to the Holy Spirit. I think I am rather a long way from that yet!
Which comes back to faith, gentleness, patience, knowing how to forgive both myself, and others, without waiting to see penitence, or understanding the details. Although that could be good! I would certainly like to understand more than I do.
But that, and all other gentle and righteous things, can be worked for, prayed for, trusted in, and reached after little by little. But remember, charity is the greatest of all these, and you are nothing without it. Nothing! That’s a big, frightening thought. But then also remember, in the last days, whosoever is found possessed if it, it will be well with them.
May it be well with you.