September 13, 2018

God's Gifts Don't Come with a Gift Receipt. And That's a Good Thing!

Romans 12:6–8

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Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,1 with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.


[1] 12:8 Or gives aid

God's Gifts Don't Come with a Gift Receipt. And That's a Good Thing!

Bio | Jen Hernandez

Hey, fellow Journeyers! This is my sixth year on The Journey, but my first time to write a devotional. Seven years ago, God used a friend and coworker to share the gospel with me. I believed, and it changed my life in the best possible way! I encourage you to share your faith with those around you. 

I am honored to disciple girls in Watermark's student ministry; attend Gather, Watermark's single adult ministry; and serve our neighbors at Cornerstone Kitchen. God is good!

Today is my dear dad's birthday! I'm so grateful for him. I would love your prayers for his salvation.

Central Truth

God has gifted each of us according to His grace. It is not luck of the draw. He has carefully selected each of our gifts to fit into the body. If we choose to use them as He intended, we will see that His gifts are indeed good and perfect.

Devotional | Romans 12:6–8

Everyone at my company has to take a StrengthsFinder assessment and print out a list of our top five strengths to display at our desks. Some people proudly display their strengths, like Strategic, Positivity, or...

Everyone at my company has to take a StrengthsFinder assessment and print out a list of our top five strengths to display at our desks. Some people proudly display their strengths, like Strategic, Positivity, or Achiever. When I took the test, three of my top five strengths were Discipline, Analytical, and Responsibility. Seriously? Out of 34 possibilities, I get the three most boring? 

I have struggled with feeling boring for most of my life. Growing up, I wasn't popular, athletic, or cool. I was a good student, and that's about it. I desperately wanted to be someone different. I spent nearly a decade trying to reinvent myself by traveling the world and partying. This path eventually led to divorce, depression, and destruction. 

Romans 12:6 tells us that we are to use the gifts God gives us. Peter expands on this and says, "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another . . . ." (1 Peter 4:10a). My problem was that I thought the gifts were given to me for me. I wanted to exchange them because they didn't make me look exciting. But God intends for us to use our gifts for others.

This was a game changer for me. I now see how God's gifts enable me to serve others. I use the gift of responsibility to be a dependable friend and to honor my commitments at home, work, and church. I use the gift of discipline to create routines like my morning quiet times with God. I have journals filled with God's wisdom that I use to encourage others. I use the gift of being analytical to meditate on God's Word and how it connects to real life. I can share what I learn as an application for other believers or to explain God's truth to non-believers (see 1 Peter 3:15).

God has a no-return policy on His gifts. We can complain, or we can embrace our gifts and use them. When we use His gifts to serve others, we will see that He is the ultimate gift giver. His gifts are good—and perfect!

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Discussion Questions

1. Do you know what your strengths are? God has given us each different spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4). Here's a resource to help you determine how God has gifted you:

2. If you know how God has gifted you, how are you using these gifts to serve others? If you're looking for opportunities to serve, go to and jump in!

3. Which gifts do you sometimes wish you could exchange? Here's a great message to encourage you:

4. If you want to use your gifts but don't feel equipped to do so, check out some of Watermark's equipping classes: My personal favorite is Equipped Disciple: 

16 Comments available

Linda Green 10 months ago

Thank you, Jen, for using your gifts to be a blessing to the JTJ fam; it encourages me to pay it forward!

Sammie Johnston 10 months ago

Yay, Jen! It’s a joy to serve with you at Cornerstone, getting to experience your use of your gifts! Great devo!

Michael Scaman 10 months ago

In Romans 12 the gifts are all to encourage each other. “gifts are meant to be given and not to be hoarded” John Piper

Joel Holyoak 10 months ago

Excellent devotional. Jen, I have attended some churches that refuse to let you use your gift. After ten years of trying, we left our previous church just for that reason. Watermark demonstrates such grace in that there is appears no predisposition against unfortunate life events (we are all fallen) which automatically eliminates you from consideration in your ability to serve and lead. I can say that in other churches it is not that way. It is good that you no longer consider your gifts as more mundane. We all can feel that way.

Kenneth Rodgers 10 months ago

Great devo Jen! Thank you for sharing with us. Just prayed for your dad’s salvation.

Ron Forberg 10 months ago

The thoughts and insights of your devotional are sincerely appreciated.

Corey Cheek 10 months ago

One of the best devotionals I’ve read - a great encouragement to the vast majority of Believers (who wish they had “other” gifts). Well done, Jen!

Michael Scaman 10 months ago

Part of the work of the Messiah is building up and gifting His church and the New Testament draws on Psalm 68 in Ephesians 4:8:

God deals with evil and rescues the humble in Psalm 68

He leads the prisoners to prosperity in Psalm 68:6 and sets the lonely in a home. Part of home is living as part of a community and body

Psalm 68:18 speaks of the Messiah ascending on high, leading captivity captive and giving gifts to men - “that the Lord on high may dwell there” Somehow it is to prepare God to dwell with them

He ascended on high and gives gifts and daily bears us up as part of salvation in Psalm 68:19

In the end it is God who is their fountain Psalm 68:26

Rita Satagaj 10 months ago

Thank you Jen for a super devo. Loved “God intends for us to use our gifts for others.” Great truth right there! Really helps with our perspective. God gives us wonderful tools to use for His plan. I prayed for your Dad, that God would open his ears and his heart when you speak to him.

Larry Hernandez 10 months ago

I get to be encouraged by this awesome woman daily, because she is my wife! Great Devo babe! I am so grateful for the gift you have it makes us such a good team in marriage! Love You!

Michele James 10 months ago

GM, Jen! So happy to see your sweet face on JTJ this morning! Thank you so much for using your gifts to bless my life and so many others! Watching your faithfulness and obedience has been such an encouragement! Boring? Never! Praying for your precious father this morning.

Pamela Norman 10 months ago

Prayed for your precious daddy to come to know our Heavenly Father! You can be certain your dad is watching your sweet life unfold and seeing a living difference in you! Praise God!

Sue Bohlin 10 months ago

Absolutely love your Devo, Jen! Thank you, thank you for the emphasis on using our gifts to SERVE others. What a game changer, huh?!

I think it’s interesting that this passage teaches that our gifts differ according to the grace given to us. Looks to me like the various spiritual gifts will appear different as they are exercised by different people. So we end up with an infinite variety of beauty and usefulness in the supernatural giftings given to bless others. For example, one person’s gift of administration will look slightly different from everyone else who’s been given that gift. And Jesus gets all the glory!

Lindsey Driscoll 10 months ago

Thank you sweet friend for your devo and reminding us that the Gifts God gives us are to serve others. I love the way Paul writes to call us to action, if your gift is this noun, then use it for this verb. I’m thinking of our foundation group, newly married slam group, and how different each of our gifts are, yet they are all useful to make the Lords name known.

Hugh Stephenson 10 months ago

GM Jen! Love the “no return policy”. Well said. “But God intends for us to use our gifts for others.” BOOM!! Convicted.

Reflecting this morning on the opening verse. Many questions.

Do I want the gifts He has given me? Do I have so much envy that I want gifts that others have? How do I misuse my gifts?

Being given some gifts for leadership do I think I have all of them? Delegation has not come easily to me.

I played a lot of youth baseball. It was all I wanted to do. Quoting Pete Rose, “I’d rather play ball than eat”. But God had other plans.

My fatal flaw is to forget that God is accomplishing His purposes through me. He could do anything in the blink of an eye - but assigns everything to us. My gifts are not for me, but to help build His kingdom.

John Hill 10 months ago

Great Devo Jen. I appreciated your comment: “God intends for us to use our gifts for others”. That places a very different perspective on the gifts we have been given. See also Mark 10:45. Praying for your Dad!

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