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Spritual Gifts vs. Natural Talents

Joined: 12/16/2007

I was reading an old discussion that MF and I, and others, had on discipleship today, and it really triggered a question in my mind:

What is the difference, if any, between a natural talent and a spiritual gift?

I'd love to hear some discussion on this.


G&G Podcast Host
Matt Farina's picture
Joined: 06/01/2006
Natural Talent vs. Spiritual Gifts

I love conversations like this. OK, from my point of view....

Natural Talent

When we are forming in our mom and are just born our brains have all the different talents we can have. We are artistic, right brained, and all the different directions. Over our first few years of life many of these neural connections break down and the ones we are left with in strong thriving ways are our talents mentally. (yes there are physical talents in the ways we are formed as well and these are how God forms us.) If we had all mental talents it would be overload (some people end up like that and can't actually do anything). This is where out natural God shaped talents come from.

Pair these with skills in these areas and you have strengths. Take someone with a natural musical talent and teach them instruments and they can play beautiful music.

Spiritual Gifts

This is when God does something through you in a way you aren't naturally talented. Or does something through you that you can't normally do. For example, a shy person who isn't very good at speaking getting up in front of a crowd and sharing a message that touches the hearts of those hearing. It goes beyond what we can naturally do.

Focus on Spiritual Gifts Problem

I think we have a problem of over focusing on spiritual gifts. God gives everyone natural talents that have been shaped but him. He built us to operate a certain way. These talents are predictable. They can be tied with skills and used to really glorify his kingdom. It's the way he built us to work in his world so we should cherish and love that. This is what most spiritual gift assessments call out. They are just our God given talents.

Spiritual gifts are different. We can plan for them. They can come out of left field. These are much more rare but so are bible reading and regularly praying Christians.

I think we miss classify this stuff. Maybe because we want to feel cooler than we are or because spiritual gifts seem to be in short demand or because we don't know better.

But, that's just my 2 cents.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host