(NOTE: This series of blogs covers the twelve days of Christmas – Dec. 25th through Jan. 5th – and is based on the Christmas song, The Twelve Days of Christmas.)
Few of God’s creatures are more graceful than a swan floating on the water. These majestic animals have always been associated with royalty. In fact, even to this day, all swans in England that are not marked by an owner belong to the crown. Throughout history, kings have given swans away as gifts. A gift of seven swans would be extremely generous.
“On the seventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, seven Swans A-Swimming…”
If the “True Love” in this famous song represents God, the King, what do the seven swans filled with grace and beauty represent? They represent the seven gifts of grace (or grace-gifts, or spiritual gifts) mentioned in Romans 12:6-8. These seven gifts are often referred to as “motivational gifts” or “creation gifts” and are supernatural endowments given to believers for purpose of serving God and serving each other. When followers of Jesus receive their gift, recognize their gift, exercise their gift, and grow in their gift, the body of Christ swims effortlessly and gracefully across the waters, drawing others to Jesus. All believers have received a grace gift. Sadly, many believers have never opened their gift to see what is inside.
Below are seven short definitions of the seven gifts of grace (“Swans A-Swimming”) mentioned in Romans 12:6-8…
- Prophecy – The supernatural ability to expose sin by proclaiming God’s truth, righteousness, and warning of judgment to come. (The office gift of the prophet mentioned in Ephesians 4:11, and the manifestation of the gift of prophecy mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:10, go beyond this simple definition of the motivational gift of prophecy.)
- Serving – The supernatural ability to meet practical needs, giving practical assistance wherever needed, becoming the hands and feet of Christ.
- Teaching – The supernatural ability to clarify truth through in-depth bible study, and a deep desire to share what has been learned with others.
- Encouraging – The supernatural ability to stimulate faith in others by giving counsel and guidance, helping others apply the Bible to their lives.
- Giving – The supernatural ability to give generously (above the tithe) to tangible needs, and the supernatural ability to give generously (above the tithe) helping to support the ministries of the church.
- Leadership – The supernatural ability to give oversight to the church, organizing ministries, achieving immediate goals of the group, enabling the church to run smoothly.
- Showing Mercy – The supernatural ability to relieve embarrassment by reaching out to others, having concern for the precise and varying feelings of individuals with a readiness to meet their needs.
All of these gifts are still given by God and are readily available within any church, regardless of size. However, it has been my experience that many churches (and church members) are more concerned with doing “personality” tests, then discovering and using their own spiritual gifts.
Today, on the seventh day of Christmas, let’s determine to discover and use the wonderful gifts of grace God has given us.
(Side Note: If you are interested in learning a little more about these seven gifts and in taking a “spiritual gifts” test based on these seven gifts, contact me and I will send you, free of charge, some unpublished resources I have and use in my church.)