When [Lydia] and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
–Acts 16:15

In Romans 12:8, Paul mentioned the spiritual gift of leading. Sometimes it is called the gift of organization. What is the gift of leading? It is the motivation to coordinate the activities of other people to achieve a common goal. Every group needs somebody who can be the leader.

What are some characteristics of people with the gift of leading? First, they have the ability to see the big picture. They tend to get frustrated by details. Second, they are very effective at delegation. They know who would be good at what and assign tasks to achieve the common goal. Third, they have the ability to preside. They do not mind standing in front of a group and saying, “Follow me; let’s get this thing done.” That is the gift of leadership.

Now, there are some dangers of the gift of leading. A person with this gift can sometimes view people as objects to achieve a common goal instead of as individuals. Second, somebody with the gift of leading can appear to be pushy at times. Third, it is easy for somebody with this gift to get so busy in getting the project organized that they forget the spiritual purpose behind it.

When I think of somebody in the Bible with this gift, I think of Lydia. Lydia was a wealthy businesswoman in the city of Philippi. Tradition says Lydia was the one who organized the first church in her city. It was through her leadership that the entire Christian movement in Europe got started, and it got started in her home in Philippi. That is the gift of leadership.

The final spiritual gift that Paul mentioned in Romans 12:8 is the gift of mercy. This is the ability and the desire to identify with and comfort those who are hurting. A person with the gift of mercy shows Christ’s love by identifying with and comforting those who are hurting.

What are some characteristics of people with the gift of mercy? First, they have the ability to discern the mood and the spirit of an individual with whom they are talking. Second, they are extremely sensitive to words and actions that would hurt other people. Third, they react very negatively to those who are insensitive to the feelings of other people.

There are some dangers of the gift of mercy, though. One danger is the failure to be firm when necessary. Second, a person with this gift can resent people who do not have the gift of mercy. Third, they risk being misunderstood and misinterpreted by members of the opposite sex.

All the spiritual gifts are important in the body of Christ. Why didn’t God give each of us all the gifts? Because He wants us to learn to depend on one another. We need every one of these gifts.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “You And Your Spiritual Gift” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.