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The phrase "Nine Gifts of the Spirit" is so frequently used in current teaching and writings that an average believer tends to think that there are only nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, and he is not gifted if he doesn't have one of them! But a diligent study of the gift lists in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4 shows that the lists are only samples and the gifts mentioned are just examples. No list is exhaustive. They are all suggestive. There's overlapping but they all blend beautifully as the colours of a rainbow. If we leave out the repetitions, the passages in the 4 chapters mentioned above give us nineteen gifts. They are Prophecy, Teaching, Counselling, Charity, Leadership, Kindness, Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Discernment, Tongues, Interpretation, Helps, Adminis-tration, Apostleship, Evangelism and Pastorship. Again if this is all what the Holy Spirit can bestow as His gifts, He is too poor! Perish the thought! "He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think!" (Eph 3:20). There are several other gifts mentioned all over the Scriptures but we fail to recognize them so. Celibacy is an example. Paul calls it a "gift from God" (1 Cor 7:7). Hospitality is another gift (1 Pet 4:9,10). Though all believers are supposed to be hospitable, we know for sure there are some who are hospitable beyond our understanding! That's a special gift, much needed today. Hospitality literally means the love of strangers. Not easy, eh! Then there's intercession. All must pray but not everybody can lament like Jeremiah or sorrow like Paul (Lam 3:48-50; Rom 9:1-3; 10:1). Men like Rees Howells (1879-1950) and Praying Hyde (1865-1912) had this gift. Composing of songs and music is an ancient gift the Holy Spirit is gloriously restoring these days (Eph 5:18-20). This was David's gift! (2 Sam 23:1,2). Artistic workmanship is another covetable gift (Ex 31:1-5; 35:30-35). Can unlearned herdsmen and fishermen write the Scriptures without the operation of the gift of writing? (2 Pet 1:20,21). The list is thus endless. Let's not be like the young boy who tried to empty the ocean by drawing water with a bucket! Our so-called scientific diagrams and definitions of the gifts of the Spirit have actually limited the Holy One of Israel. The result is a "giftless" majority watching a "gifted" minority in awe and wonder. The gifts of the Spirit are neither nine nor nineteen nor ninety but numberless. Let's revise the syllabuses of our Power Seminars, recognize the hidden gifts in each person and rally the silent majority of the Church to action. Only then can the Church fulfil her mission on earth.
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