is musical talent a spiritual gift?

I’ve been thinking about spiritual gifts and musical talent lately. Some people talk like musical ability is a spiritual gift that is especially given for service in the church. Some of these people will almost refuse to serve in any other way.

Is this a Biblical way to look at one’s gifts and/or talents?

There are three major passages in the New Testament dealing with spiritual gifts. They are Romans 12.6-8, 1 Corinthians 12, especially vv. 8-10 and vv.28-30, and Ephesians 4.11. There are a few other minor passages, but these are the significant ones.

We could divide the gifts between gifts of certain men to the church and gifts to many men in the church. Eph 4.11 lists four or five classes of men given to the church for the equipping of the saints. Their role would include training people in using their spiritual gifts. We could further divide the gifts to many men in the church between supernatural manifestations and internal capabilities. 1 Cor 12.28-30 seems to mix all the types of gifts, gifts of men to the church and gifts to many men in the church, both the ‘manifestation’ gifts and the internal capabilities gifts. Perhaps it might be better to list them all so you can see what I mean:

Supernatural Manifestations Internal Capabilities Individual Men
  • Word of wisdom (1 Cor 12.8)
  • Word of knowledge (1 Cor 12.8)
  • Healing (1 Cor 12.9, 28, 30)
  • Miracles (1 Cor 12.10, 29)
  • Distinguishing Spirits (1 Cor 12.10)
  • Tongues and Interpreting Tongues (1 Cor 12.10, 28, 30)
  • Helps / service / mercy (1 Cor 12.28, Rm 12.7, 8)
  • Faith (1 Cor 12.9)
  • Administrations (1 Cor 12.28, )
  • Prophecy (Rm 12.6, 1 Cor 12.10)
  • Teaching (Rm 12.7)
  • Exhortation (Rm 12.8)
  • Giving (Rm 12.8)
  • Administration (Rm 12.8)
  • Apostles (Eph 4.11, 1 Cor 12.28, 29)
  • Prophets (Eph 4.11, 1 Cor 12.29)
  • Evangelists (Eph 4.11)
  • Pastors (Eph 4.11)
  • Teachers (Eph 4.11, 1 Cor 12.29)

I have to concede that my analysis here is somewhat subjective and dependent on what I understand the various gifts to be. Regardless of the subjectivity, do you think my analysis of the categories is accurate: supernatural manifestations – that is, the ability to do something as a public display of the power of God; internal capabilities – that is, something that exists within the person that is displayed in ministry, not in public display; individual men – that is, particular men in particular offices within the church for the edifying of the body.

Now, to my thesis… where do musical talents fall in this grid?

I read a number of articles on the subject. Most writers seem to agree with my basic thesis: musical talents are not spiritual gifts, but they are physical gifts that can be used by a spiritually gifted person for ministry.

There are people who are very gifted musically but have no spiritual gifts at all. Name a big name opera singer for example, or one of the well-known instrumentalists of our day. They are very gifted musically. Most of them, the vast majority of them, have no spiritual giftedness at all. How could they? These men and women are not born again. How could they have spiritual gifts?

There is no doubt that physical gifts, like musical ability, are given by God, but they are not given on a spiritual basis. They are given to men in general, not to the church in particular. They are a matter of genetics, the ‘luck of the draw’ in parentage, God’s sovereignty, and training.1

Should we decide how we will serve God in his church solely on the basis of musical ability? In other words, should someone refuse to serve in some other way if they are unable to use their musical ability regularly in church ministry? Suppose we have two or three pianists in a church (I always am thinking ‘small church’ when I say this!) They can’t all play at once, and often one of them becomes the regular pianist. Should the others just do nothing else, no teaching, no involvement in other ministries, child care, church cleaning, evangelism, what have you? Should they just sit and wait till they have a chance to serve on the piano? Should they look for another church where they can use their musical abilities and be the ‘first string’ pianist? Are these ‘spiritual’ approaches?

The reality is that musical ability can be used in a spiritual way for the edification of the body. But you should serve God where there is a need, not according to what you think your gift is. Perhaps God will give new gifts when a new opportunity needs to be filled by you. And surely God can use your physical abilities, like music, in almost every ministry of the local church even if you don’t get to use it every Sunday in the worship service.

don_sig2

Notes:

  1. Although some, like me, have so little musical giftedness that no amount of training will help, assuming I would submit to it! []

Comments

  1. Andy says:

    I had only ever made the distinction between “sign gifts” and “non-sign gifts”, but I like the way you have divided them here in this article.

    I think we need to make the distinction between “gifts” and “talents”. Talents would be our natural abilities that we are born with. We all have various talents that do not depend on our spiritual position. There are many talented musicians/vocalists in the secular realm. However, the spiritual gifts are unique to believers because they are bestowed on them by the Holy Spirit at the moment of a person’s conversion “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Eph 4:12).

    I would say that the the Bible teaches that we are to be good stewards of our talents and develop them to the fullest, just as we are to do with our spiritual gifts. A musically talented believer can be a great blessing to the body of Christ. “…teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…” (Col 3:16). And above all, we should use our talents to bring glory to our God! “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)

    I could develop this a little more, but these are just my initial thoughts.

    Andy

  2. Greg says:

    I Peter 4:11

    • @ Andy

      “Good stewards” is a good term.

      @ Greg

      Not sure if you are posting 1 Pt 4.11 in agreement or disagreement with what I have written. I know that this is a fourth passage dealing with spiritual gifts, but it doesn’t really list any. Rather, it tells us how to use them in two different categories.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  3. Greg says:

    Well I posted it because it contradicts your statement:

    “But you should serve God where there is a need, not according to what you think your gift is.”

    The ESV translates this differently from the KJV which says serve according to your abilities. It seems fairly obvious that people need to determine what their abilities are and then use them. Sometimes, that might include a pianist going to find a church where then can be “first string” as you put it.

    Of course, people need to stretch themselves to and try to fill in the holes if they can. But certainly in an ideal situation, people are doing what they are gifted in doing, not what the need may be.

    • Hmmm… I don’t think it contradicts what I am saying, but I’ll see what others say. A literal rendering of the phrase would be:

      “if anyone serves, as out of strength which God supplies”

      I don’t see: 1) how this could be construed as a natural talent, given the whole context of the other spiritual gifts passages, and 2) how this can be seen as a mandate to figure out what your gift is – you serve relying on the Lord for the strength for the task, and the Lord gives the needed gifts.

      I guess we will end up disagreeing on this one.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  4. Brian Ernsberger says:

    Appreciate the thoughts Don and would agree with your assessment of musical talents (I would also include the vocal talents as well as instrumental talents). As a pastor of one of those “small” works you mention, we currently have five capable piano players. Four of these are rotated through Sunday School opening singing, Sunday evening service and Wednesday Bible study and prayer. There are also Sunday afternoon services at two different assisted living homes where we hold services and the piano is used. So rather than exhaust one person playing the piano for all of the above, they are spread out so that all may use their talents. I guess part of that which you present would depend on the ministries of the individual church. I would definitely concur that the individual who could not use their talent in a particular church setting should not withhold the opportunity to minister in another avenue that the Lord opens. Being sensitive to the Lord’s leading, I believe, is ultimately is needed for all of us to see God at work with us.

    • One point I don’t think I made earlier is that especially in small churches workers are needed in all sorts of ways. Those who insist that they can only serve in ONE way have a real problem with their understanding of the doctrine of the church – it is a body, and each part needs to do its part. While the musicians understandably want to use their abilities, they have an obligation to the whole body to be used where needed. And when they run off somewhere else, very little thought is given to the hole they are leaving in the body the Lord apparently led them to back when they joined…

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  5. I know of only one personal testimony in which the musical talent can be 100% attributed to a Gift of the Spirit. As I recall the history, it is something like this:
    This particular lady walks and lives in the spirit and asked the Lord for the ability of guitar playing so she could accompany herself when leading worship. She received the gift. But even in the Spirit, she had problems with Flat chords…
    After many years she really felt the limitations of playing on a guitar and asked the Lord for a gift to be able to play keyboards. Again, the Lord granted her this gift too.
    As she attests, when she starts playing, there are mostly wrong notes until the Spirit gets her fingers warmed up, then she simply plays wonderfully in the Spirit. As she sings and leads worship, her fingers just play the music for her :)
    Before she asked for the gift, she has no talent in playing either the guitar or keyboards.
    Then again, she is the only person whom I know who even occasionally speaks in “tongues” in another recognisable earthly language – exactly like the Disciples did on the day of Pentecost.
    Having a sample of one, simply means music can be a Spiritual Gift – it does not change the general base argument for and against though! :)
    Blessings.

    • Hi Angus

      Well, interesting, but it proves nothing. Even if the story is true no one has any verifiable means of saying this is a gift of the Spirit of God. There is NO Scripture that identifies any such gift, there is no instance of any such thing happening in the Bible, so there is no way to verify that this is from the Spirit of God.

      The authority is Scripture, not some story someone tells you.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  6. bassbonemh says:

    Thanks for the thought provoking topic. A couple thoughts from a musician… I think that all gifts and talents are given by God to people to use for His glory and to further His kingdom. Whether the person uses the gift/ talent for that end is, of course, up to them. This does not, however, make the gifting untrue. Also, is not everything we do for a spiritual end? Is it not possible that a “word of wisdom”, a “word of knowledge”, or a “healing” of mind and spirit can come from a song? Music itself is a language (a “tongue” if you will) all its own.

    I agree that a person should be flexible and serve where needed and not shun opportunities due to perceived limitations (I say perceived because all things are possible through God).

    The only other thing is: in your article, you said,

    Name a big name opera singer for example, or one of the well-known instrumentalists of our day. They are very gifted musically. Most of them, the vast majority of them, have no spiritual giftedness at all. How could they? These men and women are not born again. How could they have spiritual gifts?

    I feel this may be a dangerous statement. It makes assumptions that border on omniscience. To say that any big musician is more likely to unsaved than saved is an unfair accusation. I could assume that the famous singer Chris Tomlin and the pianist Fernando Ortega are defiantly saved but that doesn't make the assuming right.

    Thanks for listening.

    • Thanks for the comment.

      I am not sure if you are picking up the emphasis I am making: there are “spiritual gifts” and “natural gifts”. Of course, ultimately, all gifts come from God, including the natural gifts. I am counting musical gifts among the natural gifts, not among the spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are those that are listed in the Bible as spiritual gifts. Natural gifts included musical ability, physical ability/prowess (athleticism, for example), mental ability, and so on. The natural gifts are widely distributed among humanity at large … although they seem to have largely missed me!

      The spiritual gifts are distributed only among true believers for the edification of the church.

      On the last point, regarding my “big name opera singers” quote, I am not charging ALL opera singers or what have you as unbelievers, nor am I charging any specific individuals as unbelievers. I grant that only God can see the heart. But the vast majority of people of every class are unbelievers, Jesus said so:

      13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
      14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Mt 7.13-14)

      By their public lifestyles, I think it is safe to say that the majority of professional musicians are not believers and by definition they CANNOT have any spiritual gifts. They don’t have spiritual life, how can they have spiritual gifts?

      I hope that clears up what I have said above. I am making a sharp distinction between natural gifts and spiritual gifts and including musical ability in the natural gifts category.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  7. d4v34x says:

    Well I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only on that has a problem fretting the flat chords!

    Don, I take it you believe the gift lists are exhaustive rather than representative?

    • No, I don’t believe the lists are exhaustive. But I think physical talents (which almost all musical gifting is, I think) are not SPIRITUAL. They are universal among mankind, saved and unsaved. Spiritual gifts have to do with spiritual things and are given only to Christians.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

      • Paul Overby says:

        Lots of excellent teachers out there, too. So, how does that fit?

        • Hello Paul

          Thank you for the comment. I had to go back and read through what I wrote and all the comments to understand your question! It’s been a while.

          The Spiritual Gift of teaching would, it seems to me, have to do with ability to communicate spiritual truths – those things which the natural mind cannot truly comprehend. It is not simply the ability to communicate or impart knowledge, but the ability to move people forward in discipleship.

          That is, at least, my attempt at making a distinction. And I am making that distinction without taking a lot of time to think about it, so please feel free to critique.

          Maranatha!
          Don Johnson
          Jer 33.3

  8. Don, it seems to me that the same arguments you are making against musical “gifting” as a spiritual gift could be made against administration, giving, and (to drag in I Peter 4 if one takes that as spiritual gifts) hospitality. Lots of unsaved people do these things, often very, very well. We could even add teaching in that category of areas where unsaved people may have significant natural talents.

    I’m not inclined to see musical talent as a spiritual gift, but I’m not sure you’ve given a persuasive argument as to why it isn’t.

    • Hmm…

      As always you make me think. Your point is good, I’ll have to think that part of the argument over.

      Would you accept that there is a spiritual dimension to Christian giving or teaching that is different from the activities of giving or teaching by lost people? Not sure if that is persuasive either.

      I’ll think it over.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  9. Yes, I do think there is a spiritual dimension to Christian giving / teaching, and I think you are on the right track with that thought. Just because someone is “naturally” good at giving doesn’t mean they are naturally good at giving in ways, places, and for purposes that please the Lord. Some years ago I had a teacher who was a very gifted teacher and a reprobate atheist.

    My admittedly only half-baked view: if there is such a thing as a spiritual gift in music, it doesn’t mean that a person is talented. It means that a person has been specially equipped by God to use music for spiritual purposes. I’m remembering a man I knew who used to lead singing when he was in his upper 70s and 80s. His voice wasn’t what it used to be, he wasn’t a soloist anymore, but he was engaged in a spiritual ministry and he knew it. If there is such a spiritual gift, he had it.

    • Would that be a gift of music, though? Wouldn’t it be more a gift like ‘exhortation’? What I am after in making this distinction is that music seems to be more a physical ability (or maybe a ‘psychical’ ability) rather than spiritual gift.

      The only thing that gives me pause, so far, is your comment about lost people giving and administering. I thought I might have an escape from that comment in thinking about Romans 12 this morning. Without looking at it I was remembering ‘let your x be with y’ as being the style of the whole list. I was thinking, “Maybe the gift is the ‘y’ component, not the ‘x’ component.” Then I looked at the actual text and found this:

      6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; [so far so good]
      7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; [uh-oh, argument slipping]
      8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

      You can see that the middle set of gifts redefine component x with component x, not with y. So it sort of blows my argument. The first one and the last two fit my pattern, but not the middle three. Don’t you hate it when your great argument gets blown up by actually looking at the Bible?

      Still thinking on this objection. Probably have to study this in more detail.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  10. Maybe a gift of exhortation with music? I don’t know.

    I do think there is a difference between a talent and a spiritual gift, but I’m not sure how to define it Biblically.

    But I’d really like to help you escape from my comment :), so try this on for size. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if something is a talent or a spiritual gift, really. All we are and have should be at the disposal of the Lord. And the only place spiritual gifts receive a truly extensive discussion is in I Corinthians 12, and Paul sort of got dragged into that. He closes by saying, “I’ll show you a better way.”

    A focus on spiritual gifts really isn’t what the work of the Spirit in us is all about. I don’t think the lists of spiritual gifts are exhaustive (after all, they all differ), which tells us that the Lord didn’t think it important enough for us to know exactly what is and isn’t a spiritual gift. We have enough to know that they are wide-ranging, that differences in spiritual gifts don’t mean a thing as far as worth in the body of Christ, and that they are to be used in love to enhance the unity and spiritual growth of the church.

    Is that a good enough escape route?

    As to arguments being blown up by looking at the Bible, that never happens to me. Mine get chopped and diced, instead. :) You might notice it took me three weeks to get around to chiming in on this thread, though. That’s because it seemed a good candidate for on of those topics where I could get blown up.

    • I agree that it doesn’t matter, of course we are to use all abilities and gifts to serve the Lord. However, the motivation for this piece in the first place is to counter those people who refuse to do anything but music because “teaching is not my gift” or whatever.

      Perhaps the difficulty we are having making a hard and fast distinction means I’m on the wrong track in trying to counter that attitude.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  11. Your last paragraph — that’s my personal opinion. I think you are trying to tackle it with the first part of I Cor. 12 when you need to tackle it with the last verse and chapter 13.

  12. Kam says:

    Can gifts of tongues,gift of prophecy and gifts of vision b practised to become one’s gifts?

    • I’ve just been teaching through the subject in our church. I don’t believe the sign gifts are available today, so tongues/prophecy as such are not currently available.

      Other gifts can be improved through use and training. For example, the gift of teaching improves over time. If you were to listen to some of my sermons or other teaching sessions from 30 years ago and compare it with today, you would find a marked difference.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

      • Thank you. Once i was asked to speak tongues bt i did rejected the idea of practising tongues to be my own gift. So, how do i convinced them that gifts tongues and gifts of vision etc. had already cease? And why are they speaking tongues? Are they acting or are they doin smth that is not from our Holy God? Pls help thank u.

        • Hi Kam

          I don’t think it is easy to convince people who are committed to an idea for whatever reason. They tend to be strongly emotionally committed and nothing will sway them.

          However, you can present Bible teaching and show them how you come to such a conclusion. Here is a quick outline of how I arrive at my conclusions.

          1. Tongues will cease – that is unarguable, the only question is when they cease, 1 Cor 13.18
          2. Tongues are given for a sign to unbelievers, 1 Cor 14.21-22
          3. Tongues are NOT a sign of being baptized by the Spirit, 1 Cor 12.13, 30 … v. 13: all are baptized by the Spirit, v. 30: NOT all speak with tongues
          4. Tongues and other miraculous gifts are the signs of apostleship, 2 Cor 12.12
          5. Apostleship was given for the foundation of the church, Eph 2.20
          6. The apostle Paul testifies to his work of laying a foundation, 1 Cor 3.10-12
          7. Revelation speaks of the church being build on the foundation stones of the apostles, Rev 21.14
          8. When the foundation is laid, there is no more need for apostleship or the sign gifts that accompany apostleship. Thus, when 1 Cor 13.9-10 tells us that when the perfect is come, that which is in part will be done away, I conclude that it is speaking of the end of the works that require such signs, that is, the founding of the church by the apostles. Their work was concluded with the completion of the New Testament and there is no evidence that sign gifts continued in the church beyond the days of the apostles.

          You can present such scriptures to whoever is talking to you about tongues, but they will likely not change their mind unless they are submissive to the Holy Spirit. That’s about all you can do.

          You probably should look for a church where tongues are not encouraged or taught.

          Maranatha!
          Don Johnson
          Jer 33.3

  13. Dorothy Ward says:

    I think the difference in spiritual gifts vs natural gifts is annointing. The annointing is always present when you are operating from the place you are spiritually gifted. However, natural gifts, talents, are without repentance and will do what they were created to do for the world. I do believe there are times when God allows talents and natural gifts to operate in the spiritual realm when the person in possession of them has been annointed to do so. And in order to be annointed you must first be a believer. Dont get this twisted because satan is a deciever and will have you thinking that person is being lead by the Holy Ghost.

    Remember before the resurrection of Christ, people were annointed for “such a time as this,” vs being in posession of the Holy Spirit until eternity. So, natural gifts become supernatural gifts when the person with the gift is in deed a believer and has been annointed in that area. By my own definition, talents are supporting gifts that aide spiritual gifts in accomplishing what “Thus Says The Lord!”

    • Dorothy, Thank you for your comment. If I understand you correctly, what you are saying is similar to what I was saying in that old article. For clarification, would you mind letting me know your church or theological background? It might help put your comments in context. No need for a specific church name, just a denomination, like “Baptist”, “Presbyterian”, or whatever is all I am interested in knowing.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

      PS sorry for the delay in posting your comment, I am going mad with too many things to do.

      • Dorothy Ward says:

        Oh that’s ok. A great busy I hope you are (said in my best yoda impersonation, ha).
        I am Missionary Baptist but I tend not to lean too far into denominational statuses. I am a Christian and believe in the Word of God. I spoke from where I am in my understanding. If I got something wrong or misunderstood please by all means correct me. Although I was Baptized at a young age, I will forever remain a babe in Christ = remain humble and teachable.

        Peace and blessings

  14. Jack MInear says:

    Wow… I know I am chiming in late on this topic… But I can add a little perspective from experience:

    First of all – I have a love of music and was heavily involved with secular music before I was saved. Since being saved I have developed from focusing purely on spiritual music to seeing the good in all forms of music through the eyes of grace. Music to me really is a language and it should indeed be treated with care as to how it can be used to edify the body or attract the lost to the grace of Christ.

    In the live worship context I believe success is most palpable when the worship prepares the person for the pure word of God from the pastor/teachers. Remember that Jesus is our active worship leader.

    That said there are very real dangers that we must navigate. We know that Satan lost his position as worship leader and will do his usual work to try to destroy the church. So whether spiritually gifted musically or not every believer needs to be spiritually in tune to our Shepherds voice. Music can become Idol worship if we don’t watch out. If someone, including myself, thinks they have some special gift it might be a good idea to lay it down for a while and see if God calls us back to it. I have learned that God will equip us (literally with assets and instruction and ability) if he has called us. But we have to be vigilant to ensure our calling and election, I believe. If we are not willing to lay down our lives ( in love) as Jesus teaches us, we have some growing up to do.

    ..”Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth” – 1 Samuel 3:9

    • Thanks for your comment. I am not so active on the blog these days, but appreciate the feedback nonetheless.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  15. I’ve been wondering lately, if a “secular” artist is exhibiting love and spreading joy through their gift of music, maybe they are serving The Lord. And when I look into their backgrounds, there is sometimes a connection to church and a spiritual life at some point in their lives. Only God knows the heart, but those beautiful gifts have to come from Him. And some artists who may not be known outwardly as Christian, couldn’t they be His? It just seems that positive music is so powerful that it’s hard to imagine God isn’t in it.

    • Interesting to see a comment after so long a time.

      Interesting also that I was discussing a similar topic with a friend this week. We were talking about athletes and gifted people in general. Because of his family connections, he knows several professional athletes personally and remarked on how ordinary they were as people. He also made an observation that the athletes, musicians, etc. are not really special because of their talent and it was strange that we should idolize them.

      I’m not quoting him exactly, but the way he said it struck a thought in me: When we admire gifted people, we do it in the wrong way. We do it as if the person had something to do with the gift. What we are really admiring is the image of God in men, the glory of God on display. Man in his fallenness worships the creature rather than the creator, so they adulate the athlete or the musician. What we should be doing is remarking about the glory of God who enables men to have such talent.

      Now I’ve used the terms gifted and talented here interchangeably. I think it is obvious that all abilities come from God, and God should get the glory when men use their abilities in a wholesome way. I don’t expect non-Christians to always do that, and, in sports especially, but in all areas where men excel, you can also see their fallen condition – they do it for self, there is brutality involved in many sports, there are sensual uses of God-given talent, etc.

      But my point with the article is not that God isn’t involved in giving men talents, but these talents are physical gifts, not spiritual gifts. In particular, we should not elevate physical gifts to the same level as spiritual gifts in our understanding.

      Hope that helps some.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

      • Lissi says:

        I came across this post in search of some understanding. I have been a believer for about 4 years and never musically gifted. At the request of a friend 3 years ago, I started helping with our church’s preschool choir. I looked at my role as crowd control and snack leader. This year I have felt called to take on leadership, the current leader is happily stepping down and I have a desire to really improve the relational component of our choir group. I am also feeling very strongly pulled to learn and understand music and even a strong desire to start learning instruments. To me this desire feels like a spiritual gift, as I am not currently talented but I feel like God is giving me the desire and the opportunity. Is this a spiritual gift of music? A different spiritual gift? Or something I haven’t thought of yet?

        • Thank you for the comment.

          I would say that the spiritual gift that would be stirring in you is probably not “music” as such, but something like Service (Rm 12.7) or Leading (Rm 12.8).

          In other words your desire to help in this ministry is something that comes from the work of the Spirit in your life, it isn’t something you naturally would turn to, but it is something you perhaps are being enabled to do as a spiritual leader, though you do not have the physical gifts of music as such.

          Hope that helps.

          Maranatha!
          Don Johnson
          Jer 33.3

  16. Cristina marzullo says:

    Musical talent is not a spiritual gift and in itself not a replacement for the great commission to which we are all called. Lots of flesh in the music ministry the church exalts these vocalists & musicians despite their spiritual condition. The gifts & callings of the Spirit CLEARLY outlined in the word. Playing an instrument not listed A good vocal talent not listed.

    • Hello Cristina,
      Thanks for stopping by. It’s been a long time since I wrote that article, it seems that you get what I was saying, and you are right, that is my point. Musical talents are useful to the church, but are NOT spiritual gifts.

      I have great intentions of writing more on this blog, but other responsibilities constantly slow me down. One of these days…

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  17. Kevin Reese says:

    Well, I am way late to this party, and my comments are a wee bit off the beaten path, but I’ve got something to say…

    It seems to me that people love to pick on singers and musicians in the church…..

    And the whole essence of your initial article targeted musicians, even suggesting that they are lazy (e.g. the pianist who wants to sit around till she can be “first string”? Come on. Don’t you see how insulting that is?)…

    I have noticed this negative “tone” toward church musicians for many years now, and I have started speaking up about it. We work hard. Y….

    Note: edited for length and for off topic

    • Kevin, you are missing the point entirely. I didn’t post your whole comment, but enough to show the general direction of your remarks, all of which have nothing to do with the topic. Not suggesting that musicians don’t work hard, are not involved, etc. The point of the article is that musical talent is a physical, not a spiritual, gift. It should not prevent you from serving in spiritual ways in the church as needed or as opportunities arise. Yes, many musicians do that, but some do not, as per the example I cited. That is my point.

      You would do better to get off the victim mentality and read with comprehension. You would find yourself less offended.

      BTW, I am not looking for a debate, so I won’t be posting your reply to this (if any). If you wish to discuss the actual point of the article, I am willing to talk about that.

      Regards,
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3