Ability to welcome and to serve, perhaps providing food and shelter to guests or strangers with love and liberality and graciousness, so that they feel ‘at home’

Hospitality is referred to in Rom. 12:13 shortly after the list of spiritual gifts. Although it is not explicitly listed as a spiritual gift, it is generally recognised as such and its specific mention in the context of gifts in 1 Pet. 4:9-10 supports this view.

This is a gift that many do not recognise they have. They assume that everyone is hospitable, just as they are. And yet it is one of the most valuable gifts, especially at the ‘front door’ of the church, both literally and figuratively. It is a gift that communicates love and concern to the stranger and may well be the means of bringing them into the security the church should offer. And who knows; we might even find ourselves entertaining angels (Heb 13:1-2)!

Interpretation of tongues
Ability to interpret the substance, not necessarily to give an exact translation, of what has been spoken in a tongue.

The gift of tongues is one of the more conspicuously ‘supernatural’ gifts and, for many, it is confirmation they have been baptised in the Spirit. And yet, by its very nature, it is the least easy to understand. And so, when tongues are used in the context of the church, Paul directs that the speaker or another should interpret (1 Cor 14:13, 28). If no one with that gift is present the speaker in tongues should restrain from using that gift.

Ability to see ahead and to set direction in accordance with God’s purposes, and to inspire, draw and lead others so that they work together to achieve those purposes.

This is another gift in the list in Romans 12 (Rom 12:8). Spiritual leadership is quite different from secular leadership, a manifest example of the ‘upside down’ Kingdom.

Jesus exemplified this and explained that spiritual leaders are to be servant leaders in contrast to the people’s experience of secular leadership who impose their authority. He himself ‘came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many‘ (Matt. 20:25-28).

Attitude is vital. A leader goes ahead, but not too far. He draws, inspires and motivates; he does not push or drive from behind, drag, coerce or manipulate. He has foresight. He lays down his life for those who follow, seeking to help them achieve their full God-given potential.

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