It is interesting what people call gifts from God.  In reality, the scriptures are pretty clear what gifts from the Lord are.  In Romans 12:6 to 8, we learn that God, the Father, gives every person a gift.  They are prophet, server, teacher, encourager, giver, leader, and mercy.  Jesus said that the Father sends rain and sunshine on the just and the unjust.  He gives his gifts to all mankind.

In I Corinthians, the gift of the Spirit are given.  Interesting, it appears that these gifts are used by people, as the Spirit desires, but they are not GIVEN but remain with the Spirit.  Paul said, “These are different ways that God works through people but the same God.”  While the Father gives gifts to every person, these gifts are given only to Christians.  They are wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophesy, discernment of spirits, speaking in different languages and interpretation of those languages. 

In Ephesians 5, Paul again gives another list of gifts.  They are gifts given by Jesus for the church as a body.  They are people who serve in the church:  apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.   Paul said, “Christ gave those gifts to prepare God’s holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger.”

Within the mentally challenged community, it is evident that our members also have the gifts of the Holy Spirit operating in their lives.  Many of our members naturally show mercy.  Jack is a natural leader.  When taught the gifts, our members understand and they identify with the gifts that are operating their lives.

Paul instructed Timothy, “Use the gift given to you” (I Timothy 4:14). While Timothy was a prodigy of Paul, every person should use her gifting in ways that will build up the church.  Serving and ministering in appropriate ways is necessary.  Will mentally challenged people make mistakes.  Of course, they will.  However, it should be encouraging to the body of Christ that God desires to use every person.

Tim was born with a disability.  His parents weren’t sure that God would ever be able to use it.  It was the greatest sadness in their lives.  However, one day they heard the Special Gathering choir sing.  They left the meeting knowing that God could and would use their precious son.  Two years ago, Tim joined the Special Gathering choir.  He is a great asset.  His gift is not singing but God uses his gifts of mercy and encouraging when he sings.   

God is so good to us that he gives each person at least one gift.   And as a bonus,  he will give us opportunities to use our gifts to bless others–not matter what your problem or disability.