<<natural talents or spiritual gifts>>

There are natural talents and abilities that are given to Christians and non-Christians alike (although they may not acknowledge their source), just as material blessings come from His gracious hand when He sends the rain on the just and unjust (Eccl 5:19; Mt 5:45). He

What have I been entrusted with?

gives mankind aptitudes and skills to use and continually develop, ideally for the blessing of humanity in general. These natural talents can be the result of genetics, or being surrounded by a favourable environment that aids their development or by special endowment from God (eg Ex 31:1-6). No one should not be content with their present level of attainment, rather continually be learning and training to increase their ability, and thus usefulness, growing to the full potential of whom God made them to be. This is where mentoring and accountability are valuable keys to progress. All such skills give us a greater appreciation of life and who knows where they will lead (Prov 18:16). If we do the preparation, the opportunity will come.

Meanwhile, spiritual gifts are possessed only by Christians, being given by the Holy Spirit. Some of the various gifts are listed in the Bible (Rom 12:3-8; 1 Cor 12:8-11; Eph 4:10-12). These are some of the divine resources whereby we are enabled to help fulfil His calling on our lives through which His life flows to bless others as we are all to play a part in the furtherance of the gospel. As we contribute to the cause of Christ out of gratitude for all He has done for us, we will find fulfillment in life. The intended result of spiritual gifts is that the whole church can grow, being strengthened by each member's contribution.

Both natural and spiritual gifts can be used, misused or not used at all. Ultimately, God will require an account of what we have done or not done with what has been entrusted to us (Rom 14:12). It is important to understand as humans we are only the channels

Use, don’t abuse or not use, your gifts

through which He works and we cannot take any credit for the results of Him working (Isa 42:8, 48:11; Mk 16:20). They are not to cause us to become proud when others express their appreciation to us, for although we may have developed them, they came from Him (Deut 8:18).

See also: ability, accountability, call/calling, channel, humility, pride, skill, spiritual gifts, talent.