There are three specific categories of gifts listed in the Bible that are all supernatural:
- Gifts of the Spirit – I Cor. 12:7-11
- Five-fold Ministry Gifts – Eph. 4:7-12; I Cor. 12:27-28
- Motivational Gifts – Rom. 12:3-8
The motivational gifts found in Romans 12 are gifts that motivate us in our ministry to others.
Each person in the body of Christ has gifts to help us function in our place in the body.
You have also been given the measure of faith to use your gifts appropriately to minister to others (Romans 12:3).
At the new birth, God gives every believer gifts that motivate his/her life and supernatural ministry to others.
Of these seven motivational gifts one or two of them will be dominant in your life and ministry.
Understanding these gifts and knowing you have gifts differing from others, will help you to value and appreciate others gifts and place of ministry in the body!
Motivational Gifts Are According to Grace
Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them
The gifts given to you are God’s call and choice, not yours. They are given by grace, not by any performance or merit on your part.
Though you can operate in each one of these from time to time, there are primary dominant gifts you have been given by His grace!
Understanding these motivational gifts and how they are differing among other members in the body from yours helps you:
- Appreciate and value others who are distinct from you/your gifts
- Remove insecurity- You can feel confident to be yourself!
- Remove temptation to attempt to be like someone else
- Remove misunderstandings/criticisms of others who are not like you/your gifts
- Eliminate the need to compare yourself with others (unwise – II Cor. 10:12)
There are no specific definitions of these motivational gifts in context from Romans 12:3-8, but we can observe them functioning in many Bible characters and learn ways to describe them.
Definition of Seven Motivational Gifts of Romans 12
This is a different gift from the gift of prophecy that is one of the nine gifts of the Spirit in I Cor. 12:7-11 and I Cor. 14:3-4.
This gift is the ability to declare truth which touches the heart and brings conviction without regard to consequences.
This person is able to see things from God’s perspective and is a quick discerner of motives in others.
This person is typically frank and outspoken, black and white (no gray in their perspective)
They have a passion for the truth and take a hard line against sin
They have a sincere zeal for the truth, the church and kingdom of God, many times disregarding the thoughts and feelings of others.
Example: John the Baptist – Matthew 3:7-8 – “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance…”
Matthew 14:3-4 – “For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Because John had said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’
The serving gift could be defined as the ability to show love by meeting the practical needs of others
People with this motivational gift place a focus on keeping order in the natural arena for the purpose of making others feel comfortable.
This person is very hospitable. They love to entertain houseguests.
Hebrews 13:2 – “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”
Titus 1:9 – “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
Their focus also is almost altogether on short-term goals
They demonstrate love for others in good deeds and actions, not words.
Their interest in meeting practical needs may seem to be a lack of spirituality but is not!
Example: Martha – Luke 10:38-42
This is not the five-fold ministry office of the Teacher found in Ephesians 4:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 12:27-28, though each five-fold ministry office of the teacher many times will possess this primary motivation.
A person with a teaching gift has been given a divine ability to receive revelation and clarify truth.
This person has a zeal and desire for the truth to be revealed, received, and understood
This person loves studying the Word and has a great hunger and thirst for knowledge.
They love word studies and emphasize scriptural context and accuracy.
They have a passion for truth to be communicated in systematic sequence
Example: Apostle Paul – He had a greater concern with truth than person (situation with John Mark)
The exhortation gift is the ability to encourage others to grow spiritually even in the face of hardship.
People with the gift of exhortation place an emphasis on personal growth and application of the Word.
These people are zealous for the Word to be lived out in the lives of people.
They are a stimulator of faith. They don’t give up on people. They make excellent counselors and disciplers of others.
An example in the Bible of someone with a gift of exhortation is Barnabus in the New Testament.
When the disciples were afraid of Saul (Paul) Barnabus took him and brought him to them – Acts 9:26-27
Barnabus did not give up on John Mark and that gave rise to separation from Paul – Acts 15:37-40
A person with a strong exhortation gift is very positive and sees the best in people even when they make mistakes. Divine ability to see the potential in others and help them achieve their potential.
The giving gift is the ability to accumulate resources, make money, and contribute generously to the Lord’s work.
This is the ability to make wise investments and purchases. People with this gift are usually good at negotiations.
This person sees the work of God/advancing the kingdom as the number one priority in his/her life.
They find great joy in knowing their gift met a specific need, but do not desire to be recognized publicly.
This person does not like to be pressured or give by obligation.
Their focus on the material or natural realm (like the servant) is not unspiritual, rather a true spiritual gift!
This person deals generously with others.
An example in the Bible of someone with this gift is Abraham.
God gave Abraham assets and the ability to negotiate and make wise investments – Genesis 12:5; 18
He dealt generously with others – Lot – Genesis 13:9-12
He was the first to tithe – Genesis. 14:18-20
6. Ruling (Organization)
The ruling gift is the ability to coordinate people, resources, and schedules to achieve goals.
People with this motivational gift have a burden for the cause of God’s people and programs.
This person can see the overall picture and set long range goals to accomplish a kingdom project/purpose.
They are aware of the resources and people needed to fulfill the mission or kingdom project
They possess the ability to delegate authority and put the right people in the right role for the most effective and best use of their gifts and talents.
They will endure rejection and negative reactions to get the job done.
In contrast to a servant, who is a doer, this person is more of a delegator and overseer responsible to see to it the job is completed successfully and on time.
An example of someone in the Bible with this gift is Nehemiah.
Nehemiah surveyed the situation by night. He identified and delegated the various tasks that needed to be done to build the wall.
Nehemiah refused to accommodate his accusers (Sanballat and Tobiah) to go down to the valley of Ono – he refused to leave his task to argue with the spectators.
He assigned builders and warriors to protect the people who were working.
They built the wall in 52 days – a miracle work!
The mercy gift is the ability to identify with and comfort those in distress, whether physically, spiritually, or emotionally.
This person has special sensitivity to the emotional needs of others.
They have compassion and empathy with those who are hurting, grieving or suffering.
They have the ability to identify an atmosphere of either joy or distress.
They have a tremendous desire to remove hurts and pain from others.
Their concern for others’ feelings makes it difficult for them to say no to people’s requests of them.
An example of the mercy gift in the Bible is the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:30-37.
Mercy is the “Neighbor motive”. The Good Samaritan was concerned for the welfare of his neighbor more than others were.
Phillipians 2:4 – “Let each of you look out not only for his own interest, but also for the interests of others.”
What is Your Motivational Gift?
Here’s a fun exercise to help you determine which motivation gifts you are most predominant in.
Imagine you are in a meeting and someone spills a cup of coffee on the carpet. Here are the various responses from people determined by their motivational gifts.
- Prophecy – “You know that’s not the proper place to set the cup of coffee. In fact, you shouldn’t be drinking coffee in the auditorium anyway. That is totally inconsiderate of others and the presence of God, disrupting the service like that!”
- Serving – “I’ll be right there to wipe up the carpet. I will get it done before it stains the carpet and becomes unsightly for others to look at. When I’m done you will never know there was a coffee spill there!”
- Teaching – “Next time, pastor, make sure you put your coffee in a spill proof lid, only fill it half full, and set it under the pulpit, not on top where you could hit it with your hand and cause a spill.”
- Exhortation – “Don’t let that get you down, Pastor/brother. It’s not the end of the world. Next time you’ll get it just right. Hang in there. Wait right there and I’ll get you another cup of coffee.”
- Giving – “Don’t worry about it Pastor. It’s about time to buy new carpet anyway. Just let me know and I will pay for half of it and am willing to receive the offering for the rest.”
- Organization – “Scott, get some towels. Mike, get the vacuum cleaner. Allen, go get the Pastor another cup of coffee and set it in its proper place.”
- Mercy – “I’m so sorry, Pastor. I remember a time when I spilled coffee in one of our life group leader’s home and carpet and how embarrassing it was. Don’t feel so bad. We really love you.”
Pitfalls of the Motivational Gifts
Anytime a person is really strong in a gift, there can be pitfalls. Here are some of the common pitfalls to watch for with each gift:
1.Prophecy- can come across too harsh, judgemental, little sensitivity.
2. Serving- can appear to work for favor, can disregard their own personal needs, can have a hard time saying no, can be easily offended when others don’t serve the way they do.
3. Teaching- can prefer principles over people, can lack warmth, have little patience, could become proud, depend on the written word without the Spirit.
4. Exhorter- can be too positive, too success oriented, can forget to identify the root problem, can oversimplify a problem, can promote people too quickly, sometimes not a great interviewer because they see too much potential in people, not objective enough
5. Giver- can be cause oriented more than people oriented, can pass judgment on poor financial managers
6. Ruler- can be task oriented more than people oriented, can appear to use people, may appear insensitive.
7. Mercy- can lose objectivity, can move into human sympathy rather than Godly compassion, can get too emotionally attached, can be the biggest judgers of the Church (of those who aren’t as merciful)