The great scholar*, Charles Ryrie, says:
- A spiritual gift is not a place of service. The gift is the ability, not where that ability is used. Teaching can be done in or out of a formal classroom situation and in any country of the world. Helping can be done in the church or in the neighborhood.
- A spiritual gift is not an office. The gift is the ability and can be exercised whether one holds an office in a local church or not. In this regard much confusion exists over the gift of pastor. The gift is the ability to shepherd people. This can be done by the person who occupies what we call, in our modern ecclesiology, the office of the pastorate. Or it can be done, say, by a dean of men or a dean of women in a school. Or it can be done by the wife and mother in a home.
- A spiritual gift is not a particular age group ministry. There is no gift of youth work or children’s work. All ages need to be served by pastors, teachers, administrators, helpers, etc.
- A spiritual gift is not a specialty technique. There is no spiritual gift of writing or Christian education or music. These are techniques through which spiritual gifts may be channeled.
- A spiritual gift is different from a natural talent. I have already mentioned that a talent may or may not serve the body of Christ, while a spiritual gift does. Let’s notice some further contrasts between spiritual gifts and natural talents.
Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology : A Popular Systemic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1999), 423-24.
I thought I said that. Not so well, but that was what I meant.
* Great scholar: one of my professors gave this definition of a scholar: “Somebody who agrees with me.” Since Ryrie agrees with me here, it is quite obvious that his status is exceptional. On this one point, at least.