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Seek the best gifts

Perhaps envisioning difficult times such as these, the Apostle Paul taught: “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant” (1 Corinthians 12:1).

Indeed, it is precisely at uncertain and anxious times like the present that spiritual gifts are needed more than ever.

From the scriptures, we know that all gifts of the Spirit come through the Holy Ghost from Jesus Christ, and that every individual has at least one spiritual gift. It is our duty to counsel with God in prayer to understand our gifts and learn how we can improve them. Spiritual gifts can help us understand our relationship to God and our place in His divine plan.

Paul went on to teach about gifts of tongues, prophesy, healing, teaching, testifying, and miracles. The Holy Ghost testifies of Christ, as Jesus taught, “He shall testify of me” (John 15:26).

In particular, I have seen the gifts of tongues and interpretation of tongues at work in the lives of missionaries. Thousands of missionaries, with minimal training, are able through these gifts to acquire and master foreign languages in order to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Exercising gifts of faith, prophecy, and wisdom, Russell M. Nelson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently testified: “Our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ know us, love us, and are watching over us…And I promise that you will receive comfort and peace as you continue to hear Him.”

Apostle Marvin J. Ashton taught that there are many other gifts beyond those listed in the scriptures, including the gifts of listening, avoiding contention, not passing judgment, looking to God for guidance, and bearing mighty testimony.

One spiritual gift is the ability to understand another person’s needs, and to know how best to minister to them. In the words of the sacred hymn, the Holy Ghost can prompt us to action and service:

‘Did not our hearts within us burn?’

We know the Spirit’s fire is here.

It makes our souls for service yearn;

It makes the path of duty clear.

Lord, may it prompt us, day by day,

In all we do, in all we say.”

At this difficult time, the most important spiritual gift is tied to one of the Holy Ghost’s other titles: The Comforter. In teaching of the Holy Ghost’s great comforting capacity, Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you….Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

All are invited to learn through the Spirit from prophets and apostles at the April 2020 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 4-5 at http://www.churchofjesuschrist.org.

As we strive to be better disciples of the Lord and discover our own spiritual gifts, may we each find “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

BRENT ROBERTS is the Elders Quorum President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at brentsroberts@hotmail.com.