Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

March 15, 1910

The Gifts of the Spirit

Mrs. E. G. White

Before He left His disciples, Christ breathed on them, and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” Again He said, “Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you.” But not until after the ascension was this gift received in its fulness. Not until through faith and prayer the disciples had surrendered themselves fully for His working, was the outpouring of the Spirit bestowed. Then in a special sense the goods of heaven were committed to the followers of Christ.

“When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” “Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ,” the Spirit “dividing to every man severally as He will.” The gifts are already ours in Christ, but their actual possession depends upon our reception of the Spirit of God.

Talents and Gifts

The talents that Christ entrusts to His church represent especially the gifts and blessings imparted by the Holy Spirit. “To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.” Not all the gifts are imparted to each believer, but to every servant of the Master some gift of the Spirit is promised, according to his need for the Lord's work.

In all the Lord's arrangements, there is nothing more beautiful than His plan of giving to men and women a diversity of gifts. The church is His garden, adorned with a variety of trees, plants, and flowers. He does not expect the hyssop to assume the proportions of the cedar, nor the olive to reach the height of the stately palm. Many have received but a limited religious and intellectual training, but God has a work for this class to do, if they will labor in humility, trusting in Him.

God has different ways of working, and He has different workmen to whom He entrusts varied gifts. One worker may be a ready speaker; another a ready writer; another may have the gift of sincere, earnest, fervent prayer; another the gift of singing; another may have special skill in explaining the Word of God with clearness. And each gift is to become a power for good, because God works with the laborer. To one God gives the word of wisdom, to another knowledge; but all are to work under the same Head. The diversity of gifts leads to a diversity of operations; but “it is the same God which worketh all in all.”

Mutual Interdependence

Different gifts are imparted to different ones, that the workers may feel their need of one another. God bestows these gifts, and they are employed in His service, not to glorify the possessor, not to uplift man, but to uplift the world's Redeemer. They are to be used for the good of all mankind, by representing the truth, not testifying to a falsehood.

It may seem to some that the contrast between their gifts and the gifts of a fellow laborer is too great to allow them to unite in harmonious effort; but when they remember that there are varied minds to be reached, and that some will reject the truth as it is presented by one laborer, only to open their hearts to the same truth as presented in a different manner by another, they will hopefully endeavor to labor together in unity. Their talents, however diverse, may all be under the control of the same Spirit. In every word and act, kindness and love will be revealed; and as each worker fills his appointed place faithfully, the prayer of Christ for the unity of His followers will be answered, and the world will know that these are His disciples.

Former and Latter Rain

The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the “former rain;” and glorious was the result. But the “latter rain” will be still more abundant. What is the promise to those living in these last days?—“Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee.” “Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.”

Christ declares that the divine influence of the Spirit was to be with His followers unto the end. But by some this promise is not appreciated as it should be; its fulfillment is not realized as it might be. Learning, talents, eloquence, every natural or acquired endowment, may be possessed; but without the presence of the Spirit of God, no heart will be touched, no sinner won to Christ. When His disciples are connected with Christ, when the gifts of the Spirit are theirs, even the poorest and most ignorant of them will have a power that will tell upon hearts. God makes them the channel for the outworking of the highest influence in the universe.

As the divine endowment—the power of the Holy Spirit—was given to the disciples, so it will today be given to all who seek aright. This power alone is able to make us wise unto salvation, and to fit us for the courts above. Christ wants to give us a blessing that will make us holy. “These things have I spoken unto you,” He says, “that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Joy in the Holy Spirit is health-giving, life-giving. In giving us His Spirit, God gives us Himself,—a fountain of divine influences, to give health and life to the world.

The promise of the gifts is just as strong and trustworthy now as in the days of the apostles. “These signs shall follow them that believe.” The gifts of Him who has all power in heaven and in earth, are in store for His children,—gifts so precious that they come to us through the costly sacrifice of the Redeemer's blood; gifts that will satisfy the deepest craving of the heart; gifts lasting as eternity.

Will you not come to God as little children, appropriate His promises, plead them before Him as His own words? If you do, you will receive fulness of joy.

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