An Old Testament Woman of Faith
In the Old Testament there is a wonderful story of a faithful woman – Rebekah, wife of Isaac, son of Abraham. In Genesis 25, it recounts that Rebekah was barren. Through her and Isaac’s faith, she conceived two twin sons. During her pregnancy she felt concerned because of the struggle of the children in her womb:
“22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the Lord.”
And she received her answer. The Lord told her that her two sons would be two separate nations, one ruling over the other.
This story is one of Christianity’s earliest examples of simple, but powerful, faith in action. Rebekah’s husband was the prophet of God, His messenger on earth. And yet, Rebekah took this matter about her life directly to The Lord. This account is a really beautiful way for us to remember that God is watching over us and that with faith, we can get answers for our own life.
This story is also an example of a spiritual gift from God. In this instance, the spiritual gift was personal revelation but gifts of the spirit from on high come in many forms.
Forms of Spiritual Gifts
1 Corinthians 12 tells us some of these spiritual gifts:
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:”
Additional scripture and a list of spiritual gifts can be found in the modern day revelation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (often inadvertently called the Mormon Church). This scripture is found in Doctrine and Covenants Section 46.
Spiritual Gifts Are For God’s Purposes
From this scripture we learn that gifts of the spirit are from Heavenly Father and that they are for the righteous and are for the benefit true seekers and believers. It also explains that not everyone has all the gifts of God and that everyone has different gifts.
“9 For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.
10 And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church.
11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.”
Lds.org defines spiritual gifts:
“Spiritual gifts are blessings or abilities given by God to His children through the power of the Holy Ghost. Gifts of the Spirit are given to bless and benefit those who love the Lord and seek to keep His commandments.”
In 2002, Elder Robert D. Hales of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints noted that there are more gifts that are listed in the Bible as well as Doctrine and Covenants 46 alone and the gift that has influence in all our lives:
“There are many gifts. Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote, “Spiritual gifts are endless in number and infinite in variety” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , 371).
Of the sacred gifts of the Spirit, one that I believe has impact on each of our lives is the gift of prophecy or revelation. This gift is different from the priesthood office of prophet. The gift of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.”
Spiritual Gifts From My Life
I have witnessed gifts of the spirit in those around me. My brother encompasses “the speaking of tongues” as he served a mission in Brazil and speaks beautiful Portuguese. There are nearly 60,000 missionaries serving for the Church of Jesus Christ in nearly 350 missions around the world. This gift of the spirit is being seen through these Elders and Sisters who speak many languages in many different countries.
My husband has an innate spiritual gift for judgment. He is incredibly wise and almost always accurately assesses situations. He is extremely good at vetting people and sensing their intentions.
One gift I have been given is that of making friends. I’ve never really been “popular” and I’m not saying I’m super cool or anything, but I’ve always seemed to be able to easily to get to know people I’ve just met. Thanks to help on high, it is not hard for me to hold conversation and be interested in people. I have been blessed to appreciate things in people and always seem to have a lot to compliment people on. Like I said, this isn’t to my own credit. I don’t just believe – I know that this is a gift of the Holy Spirit.
I know some might say that all these things could be “learned” behavior, or just something someone is “naturally” good at. But that is not so.
In my own experience, though I often need to be better to people, I will have to admit that my ability to be kind and appreciate people has always seemed to be there. But as I have grown older and more mature, I have seen that this is not something so easily achieved by many.
I know it is not just because of some natural inkling. I am fully confident that this gift was given by God through the Holy Ghost to teach me something and to help me be more Christlike.
How Spiritual Gifts Are Obtained
Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught how spiritual gifts are obtained:
Spiritual gifts do not come visibly, automatically, and immediately to all who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that most such gifts are “not visible to the natural vision, or understanding of man,” and that it “require[s] time and circumstances to call these gifts into operation. (Teachings, pp. 244, 246.)
The scriptures tell us that we should desire and zealously seek spiritual gifts. (See D&C 46:8; 1 Cor. 12:31; 1 Cor. 14:1, 11.) We are also told that some will receive one gift and some will receive another. (See D&C 46:11; 1 Cor. 12; Moro. 10:8–18.) In every case, the receipt of spiritual gifts is predicated upon faith, obedience, and personal righteousness. (See Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985, p. 367.)
Spiritual Gifts Bless Our Lives
Elder Hales said,
The gifts of the Spirit can guide and enrich our lives. They can strengthen us spiritually and temporally. They can help us bless the lives of others. Most important, they can bring us comfort in times of trial. They can help us magnify our callings. They can help guide us in our relationships. They can help us avoid being deceived.
Livi Whitaker is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - a "Mormon" woman in Idaho. She has worked in various professional Communications based positions in New York, Italy and Idaho since her first day at the United Nations on Jan 2nd, 2007. Livi now devotes her full attention to free lance writing. An avid writer since childhood, Livi has kept a journal as long as she can remember - yet some of the most fulfilling writing she has done is for the More Good Foundation, sharing her beliefs online.