Who Gets Spiritual Gifts?

Who Gets Spiritual Gifts? October 30, 2019

The Lord lists spiritual gifts throughout the scriptures and specifically teaches about spiritual gifts, listing gifts like faith, healing, and prophecy. See, for example, this partial list of spiritual gifts from Doctrine and Covenants 46.

To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge.

And again, to some it is given to have faith to be healed;

And to others it is given to have faith to heal.

And again, to some is given the working of miracles;

And to others it is given to prophesy;

And to others the discerning of spirits.

And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues;

And to another is given the interpretation of tongues.

And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.

The Lord also specified some spiritual gifts in verses as He taught His people about other principles, like in Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 where He stated that “…you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.”

The Lord taught the Latter-day Saints that the President of the High Priesthood has all the spiritual gifts of God.

“And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses

Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:91-92).

Today it’s not difficult to accept that the prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ has all the godly gifts.  But what about you though?  Or your spouse or your child or your neighbor?  What spiritual gifts do they have access to?

In Doctrine and Covenants 46:9 and 11, The Lord identifies who can have which spiritual gifts.

For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me….for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.

Everyone has received at least one spiritual gift from the Lord. And everyone can receive more than one.

“For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?

Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (3 Nephi 14:8-11).

OK. So the Lord will give us spiritual gifts.  But how perfect do we have to be before we receive them?

Eutychus Fell Asleep in Church but Still Received Spiritual Gifts

When I think about personal perfection, one of my favorite stories is of Eutychus. Eutychus went to a church meeting to hear the Apostle Paul speak. Apparently Eutychus was so tired—how relatable!

I wish we knew more details about his life. What did he do earlier in the day? Why was he so tired?  The scriptural record doesn’t tell us. What we do know is Paul went on and on and on (sounds exciting to me) and Eutychus fell asleep in the window.  While fast asleep, he fell out of the window and plunged to his death.

Did he wake up on the way down?  How horrible! Did he scream, interrupting the meeting before he hit the ground? Can you even imagine how horrible that would be to see someone fall to his death while listening to the Gospel of Salvation preached? Talk about seriously interrupting the meeting.

No matter. Paul approached the lifeless body on the ground. He blessed Eutychus. The spiritual gift of healing came into play. Eutychus was healed!

Did Eutychus receive the gift of healing at that moment or was it always his? We don’t know. But Alma taught that the same spirit that possesses our body is the same spirit when we die.

Paul had the gift of healing. And despite Eutychus’ physical weakness and mistake, his gift of faith to be healed was honored.

Eutychus wasn’t perfect! He was mentioned in the scriptures because he fell asleep in church! Yet, still, spiritual gifts we efficacious in his life.

Jonah Feared and Fled, but Still Received Spiritual Gifts

Another story that gives me hope that the Lord will grant my request for spiritual gifts is Jonah. Jonah received a calling from God and not only was he unhappy with the calling, he even left town and ran away from the obligation!

Why would the Lord ever allow such an ungrateful servant to enjoy His spiritual gifts?

The Lord prepared some quiet time for Jonah to think about his choices. I’ve experienced divine quiet time to think about my choices, too.

God’s mercies and gifts did not fail Jonah. In what, to me, is one of the most poignant prayers in scripture, Jonah cried out to God.

And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. …

I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.

When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee….

He cried out in faith with a hope for his soul’s healing. And the Lord heard Jonah!

Jonah fulfilled his impossible calling to call Ninevah to repentance so completely that the entire city repented! That’s amazing!

The Lord gives His gifts to the weak and simple. He gives His gifts to the imperfect and afraid. He gives His gifts to everyone willing to ask Him for spiritual gifts.  And as we’re willing to use His gifts, we are enabled to magnify them far beyond our own capacity to bless our own lives and the lives of those around us.

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