Paul’s teaching tells us important things about the church and its ministry. There are different gifts but the same Lord. The Spirit gives believers gifts to build up the church. Paul named some of these in this passage. There are other lists in the New Testament that name different gifts. We may assume that there are subdivisions of these gifts and perhaps more that are not mentioned here. There are also natural talents with which we are born and which we may consecrate to the Lord when we become Christians.
The word “gift” indicates that our abilities to serve the Lord come from him. We have not earned them. They have been freely granted to us. It is not true that we can do anything if we just try hard enough. We cannot imitate a Christian worker whom we might admire or do anything that we feel might give us satisfaction. When we consider undertaking a work for the Lord, we should reflect carefully on whether God has given us the gifts for this work. Paul called on believers to rejoice in the diversity of gifts and to recognize that each one enriches the church’s ministry. We are not to be jealous of what God has given to others but to rejoice in what God is doing through all believers. In fact, it is our privilege to help other believers identify their gifts and encourage their development. When we sense that people can sing, write, lead youth, teach, or do other things, we should help them recognize that God has called them to perform a special ministry.
A church should find opportunities for use of these gifts. When planning a church program, one consideration may be to study the people in our fellowship and organize ministries that enable them to use their gifts. As we help our Christian friends identify and develop their gifts, we can have that same joy, that we are serving God through other believers.