What Is Your Motivational Gift?

Learn how to easily recognize your motivational gifts (Romans 12:6-8)

Know Your Motivational Gift

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You are probably here reading this page because you're looking for an easy way to identify your spiritual gifts, or in other words, your motivational gifts. Keep reading, because it's really quite simple.

No Testing or Analysis Required

When it comes to discovering our spiritual gift (or gifts), we usually mean the motivational gifts of the spirit. These gifts are practical in nature and describe the inner motivations of the Christian servant:

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:6-8, ESV)

Here's an interesting way to picture these gifts. Christians with the motivational gift of:

  • Prophecy are the eyes of the body of Christ.
  • Service are the hands of the body of Christ.
  • Teaching are the mind of the body of Christ.
  • Giving are the arms of the body of Christ.
  • Exhortation are the mouth of the body of Christ.
  • Administration are the head of the body of Christ.
  • Mercy are the heart of the body of Christ.

What Is Your Motivational Gift?

The motivational gifts serve to reveal the personality of God. Let's look at them in detail as you try to pick out your gift(s).

Prophecy - Believers with the motivational gift of prophecy are the "seers" or "eyes" of the body. They have insight, foresight, and act like watch dogs in the church. They warn of sin or reveal sin. They are usually very verbal and may come across as judgmental and impersonal; they are serious, dedicated, and loyal to truth even over friendship.

Ministering/Serving/Helps - Those with the motivational gift of serving are the "hands" of the body. They are concerned with meeting needs; they are highly motivated, doers. They may tend to over commit, but find joy in serving and meeting short-term goals.

Teaching - Those with the motivational gift of teaching are the "mind" of the body. They realize their gift is foundational; they emphasize accuracy of words and love to study; they delight in research to validate truth.

Giving - Those with the motivational gift of giving are the "arms" of the body. They truly enjoy reaching out in giving. They are excited by the prospect of blessing others; they desire to give quietly, in secret, but will also motivate others to give. They are alert to people's needs; they give cheerfully and always give the best that they can.

Exhortation/Encouragement - Those with the motivational gift of encouragement are the "mouth" of the body. Like cheerleaders, they encourage other believers and are motivated by a desire to see people grow and mature in the Lord. They are practical and positive and they seek positive responses.

Administration/Leadership - Those with the motivational gift of leadership are the "head" of the body. They have the ability to see the overall picture and set long-term goals; they are good organizers and find efficient ways of getting work done. Although they may not seek leadership, they will assume it when no leader is available. They receive fulfillment when others come together to complete a task.

Mercy - Those with the motivational gift of mercy are the "heart" of the body. They easily sense the joy or distress in other people and are sensitive to feelings and needs. They are attracted to and patient with people in need, motivated by a desire to see people healed of hurts. They are truly meek in nature and avoid firmness.

How to Know Your Spiritual Gifts

The best way to discover your unique spiritual gifts is to consider the things you enjoy doing. When serving in different ministry positions, ask yourself what gives you the most joy.

What Fills You With Delight?

If the pastor asks you to teach a Sunday School class and your heart leaps for joy at the opportunity, you probably have the gift of teaching. If you quietly and excitedly give to missionaries and charities, you probably have the gift of giving.

If you enjoy visiting the sick or taking a meal to a family in need, you may have the gift of service or exhortation. If you love organizing the annual missions conference, you likely have the gift of administration.

Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (ESV)

God equips each of us with distinct motivational desires so that our service to him springs from an inexhaustible well of delight. In this way we find ourselves looking forward with excitement to what he has called us to do.

Why It's Important to Know Your Gifts

By tapping into the supernatural gifting that comes from God, we can touch the lives of others through our motivational gifts. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, his power infuses us and flows out to minister to others.

On the other hand, if we try to serve God in our own strength, apart from our God-given gifts, over time we'll lose our joy as our inner motivation wanes. Eventually, we will grow weary and burn out.

If you feel burned out in ministry, perhaps you're serving God in an area outside of your gifting. It might be time to try ministering in new ways until you tap into that inner wellspring of delight.

Other Spiritual Gifts

Besides motivation gifts, the Bible also identifies ministry gifts and manifestations gifts.