“Sorry, I Can’t. That’s Not My Spiritual Gift.”

Sorry, I Can't. That's Not My Spiritual Gift.by Teri Lynne Underwood

It seems every few years Christendom goes abuzz with spiritual gift inventories and tests we can take to determine where we fit into the Body. I’m not opposed to knowing your spiritual gifts.  In fact, I think it can be incredibly helpful to understand where your giftedness lies and how you can best use it to serve within the church. But, as with all things, I fear we can take it too far.

My husband jokes that my spiritual gift is exaggeration.  I recently told a friend my spiritual gift is being bossy.  I guess from those two words it’s pretty easy to infer I am a storyteller and a bit of a control freak.  My “real” spiritual gifts are teaching and encouragement.  But the ability to tell a good story and to maintain some semblance of order are key factors in the effectiveness of my teaching.

The combination of my giftedness, my natural abilities, and my personality have merged and allowed me to have a teaching and speaking ministry in my church, at other churches, and online.  And it’s great!

But, just because I’m a teacher doesn’t mean I don’t serve in other areas of my church as well.  I have, at various times in the past twenty years, been on the praise team, led children’s choir, organized Vacation Bible School, and even cleaned some toilets.

However, I have known people who will only serve in places where their spiritual gifts can be used.  I’m not advocating doing things you are not capable of doing (unless the Lord leads you to do so, in which case He will provide the skills and competence needed for the task).  I am suggesting we be wiling to serve when the opportunity presents itself — even if it’s not in a way we are particularly comfortable or gifted.

So the next time someone asks you to substitute in a Sunday school class, consider doing it, even if you don’t have the “gift of teaching.”  And if your church or a non-profit near you needs someone to help organize a closet, don’t worry that “service” isn’t one of your gifts.

Yes, our primary ministry will fit into our areas of giftedness most of the time.  But I challenge you not to let your list of gifts be a list of reasons to say no to other opportunities to minister in your church and community.

How have you served outside your giftedness and been blessed by it?

Teri LynneTeri Lynne Underwood is a Word lover and idea slinger. A passionate encourager of rest, focus, and embracing life’s seasons, she tries to make time every day for good coffee, excellent books, and lingering conversations. Whether writing or speaking, Teri Lynne’s greatest passion is offering women permission to live wellAs a pastor’s wife and a cheerleader’s mom, Teri Lynne is typically three days behind on laundry and trying to remember where she’s supposed to be next. Lately the Lord has been teaching her a lot of lessons about humility, listening, and loving others well. Connect with Teri Lynne on PinterestTwitter and Facebook.


  1. It is so important to all work together and step out of our comfort zone! Thanks for these encouraging and challenging words!

    I always considered myself to be an introvert who could never speak to people, but I’ve started doing it because the person who usually leads our women’s bible study really wanted to share the load and not do it all alone. And really, although I still get stressed and nervous, it’s fun to just go do it, and nobody minds the blunders, there’s enough grace to go around 🙂

    Don’t think I’ll ever really love doing nursery but even that, if you really want too, you can just ‘customize’ it so that it works for you, and end up having a great time! And it blesses me to know the other moms could sit undisturbed for a bit 😉

  2. You are so, so right. Your challenge to “not to let your list of gifts be a list of reasons to say no to other opportunities to minister” is inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

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