For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
You say that a spiritual gift is something that can be identified in several ways. Are you saying that a spiritual gift is a permanent thing or is it something we should expect to change continually throughout our lives as the Holy spirit empowers us for his purposes? Thanks .
Identifying a spiritual gift and a spiritual ministry is very important because gifts are not for the glory of the minister of those gifts, they are tools necessary to get the job of building the Church done. There is a preacher in Australia named John Mellor his gift is easily discernible because following his prayers many people are getting healed. An autistic boy was prayed for and the father testified that after that evangelist prayed for him with the laying on of hands their son had become a normal healed child and the child was well favored by the teacher for his intelligence in the class.
One of Australia's leading current affair's programs set out to prove he was a fake healer by planting in his meeting a person with a genuine continual neck pain. The cameras were all on John who prayed for the man that had come into the meeting by stealth as a plant to check if the healing was fake. To the journalist's surprise he confessed on national television he had been totally healed and all pain had left after he had been prayed for.
Now the miracles of healing have been flowing out of John's ministry and many many have been totally healed. So it is obvious that his gift and ministry is the gift of divine healing miracles.
What is obvious out of this recognized proven ministry is the fact that God's grace is still so great and His compassion so great that He ordains the ministry of healing to cure incurable diseases and ailments today and His promise to be with His Church so evident by such ministries given to man today. How great is our wonderful God.
With other gifts such as Evangelists, souls are converted, and many come to be born again through their preaching. Billy Graham is a classic example of that, And also Reinhard Bonnke who was called to Africa.
There is nowhere in the Bible that tells us these supernatural ministries have stopped functioning, so we can expect all the gifts are indeed operating as they are shown in the book of Acts. The certainty of their operation can be found in many wonderful testimonies by many brothers and sisters throughout the world. Jesus' ascended to heaven and gave apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, teachers, not only for the completion of the Bible but to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. There is no more additions to the Bible but the ministries that function in the building of the Church continues. All those ministries are needed for equipping the Church both now and in the future.
There are ministries that are the leadership vocational callings such such as those mentioned in Ephesians 4 and others that are every individual's functional ministry in the body of Christ as mentioned in 1Corinthians 12 . All the gifts and operations of the Holy Spirit happen "as the Spirit wills"
1Co 12:11 But the one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing separately to each one as He desires.
God arranges the gifts and the gifted in the Church according to His own choice. The function is still led by the Holy Spirit otherwise if the person with the gift wanted to do what he desired he might go and empty all the hospitals. Jesus only healed those whom the Father guided Him to and the person with genuine faith was always a recipient of miracles. The one not believing would receive nothing from Him.
Ministries can be stripped from God's servants for such sins as moral decadence as seen by the life of Samson, rebellion as seen by Saul, covetousness and betrayal as seen by Judas, idolatry as seen by Solomon, Irresponsible family dealings like Eli in 1Samuel 2.
It seems that ministries can function for a while in a period of grace until God deems it necessary to expose and judge such sins and to hand their ministries to another. Samson functioned for some time while in his sinful life till it was time to be judged and stripped of the ministry, but he restored his heart to God and finally fulfilled his calling in death. King Saul however did not!
God has created us with inherent strengths and talents to be used to his glory. He also gives us gifts to meet needs within his Church. As I understand the Word, gifts are given by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:4) to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up into maturity (Ephesians 4:12-13) and that we will know Christ (Eph 3:19). As there is need in the body the Lord will meet it, so I gather that some gifts may be given for a time or specific need ( ie: exhortation, healing) while some are more long term (ie: teaching, administration). The common theme wherever the gifts are mentioned is the unity of the body.
Whatever our giftedness and for however long, I do know for certain that "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might..." Ecc 9:10 and "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men..." Col 3:23.
I am investing My time in serving him ,I want to know his will that I may do that . I think I will have done my duty here on earh before I die.