The word rendered as gift in the Greek is charisma
1) a favor with which one receives without any merit of his own
2) the gift of divine grace
3) the gift of faith, knowledge, holiness, virtue
4) the economy of divine grace, by which the pardon of sin and eternal salvation is appointed to sinners in consideration of the merits of Christ laid hold of by faith
5) grace or gifts denoting extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy Spirit
This word charisma, like many other words, has evolved into an entirely different meaning: a personal quality of leadership arousing popular loyalty or enthusiasm. So, when we talk about a charismatic movement which definition are we using? I believe it should be the biblical meaning. Of course, it is a misuse of the word, since those that use the term charismatic use it to refer to the use of glossolalia (speaking in tongues) and a more enthusiastic type of worship service. In their mind, this style of worship style is from the Holy Spirit. However, as we can see charisma is more than just external displays of the presence of the Holy Spirit; it refers to the quality of the plan of salvation, which is a gift from God to man. Jesus is a gift to man (John 3:16); so is the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). The word is also used to refer to grace, faith, knowledge, virtue, pardon, etc. All of these are gifts given to man. It is a favor with which one receives without any merit of his own. Somehow when we refer to 1 Peter 4:10, we tend to focus on the definition number 5.
For the context of our study, the word gift means something given; this has implications. One is that a gift by definition is something from someone has to someone that does not have; this applies to the Spiritual context. Before experiencing Christ in us, we had nothing of what God gives to us. Just read Romans 5 to get an idea. Death is our reward. After Christ comes into our lives eternal life is the outcome if we receive Him.
Now the one giving the gift gives because He wants to, the one receiving most choose to accept it. Whether they accept it or not they were given a gift. If they did not receive the gift; it is still a gift. Lastly, the gift is given not because the recipient deserves it or not. Again, the gift is given because the giver wants to give it.
Our lesson's emphasis is what we call spiritual gifts. What they are referring to is these special endowments or skills that the Holy Sprit gives to those in whom He dwells; in other words to those who are converted. (The disciples did not receive their gift until after their actual conversion in the Upper Chamber.) These endowments are listed in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. The purpose for them is given in Ephesians 4: 12 – 13,
Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
These gifts are not just for witnessing and evangelism. They are to help us become more like Christ and help others become more like Christ. They are to be used to serve others. How do we know we have them? Well, if you are converted it will be revealed to you. It is the Holy Spirit who brings about conversion in us, it is He who gives us a ministry, and it is He who gives us the gifts. They are called spiritual for a reason. Only those who are spiritual and not carnal have them.
Can you choose your gift? No, the Holy Spirit gives as He wills (1 Corinthians 12: 11). How can you use them? That is God's prerogative also. Paul says in Ephesians 2:10,
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
It is His work. He is the boss. So, whatever the church does, it must do under the authority and direction of the Holy Spirit. It is our privilege to seek the will of God and to work in harmony with that which the Spirit reveals. We must not fall into the trap of making plans and then seeking divine approval. Often we ask, "What can our church do for God?" We would do better to pray and let the Holy Spirit reveal to us what we shall do.