Gifts and Talents, Is There a Difference?

Posted: January 4, 2019 in books, church art ministry resources
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Over the years, a few people have given me a hard time about using the terms gifts and talents interchangeably. They say things like, “Well gifts are spiritual and they are given by God, while talents are more worldly.” Here’s why I choose to ignore them:

First of all, is there any good thing that we have, that does not come from God? The answer is no. Now my naysayers will want to point out the multitude of people who are extremely talented and are not using their gifts (there I go again) in any way that glorifies God. That is absolutely true, but it in no way changes my point. Perhaps the most important thing God gives us in terms of life in this world is air. Many people who have no connection to God breathe air, as a matter of fact they all do, and none of that makes it any less precious. I see our gifts and talents the same way.

Other people would point to the various lists of Spiritual gifts, and say that out talent are not listed there. I would argue that the first person said to be filled with the Spirit in al of Scripture was a man named Bezalel. Do you know what gift the Spirit gave him was? Exodus 31:1-5 “Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.” In other words, the first person said to be filled with the Spirit in all of Scripture was an artist and the Spirit gave him a gift my differentiating friends would call a talent.

I believe the words “gifts” and “talents” are synonymous, and if you don’t, that’s okay, but here’s what’s important. Every good thing in your life comes from God. It was given to you, by Him to be used to His glory. So whatever good things you have, whether they feel “spiritual” or not, come from God and are to be used for His sake. You are talented and you are gifted and you are supposed to use whatever gifts you have to serve others, remember? (1 Peter 4:10). So take what you have, no matter what you call it and put it to work. God deserves nothing less, and this world needs what you have. That’s why God gave it to you.

Assignment: Look over your list of gifts from an earlier assignment and add to it anything you may have missed. Have you mentally disqualified something from your list because you didn’t think it was spiritual? If it does not involve blatant sin, add it to your list.

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