The difference Between Ministry, Spiritual, and Motivational Gifts

The scriptures teach us about the Ministry gifts found in Ephesians 4; the Manifestation (spiritual) gifts discussed in I Corinthians 12:4-6 and 27-31; and the Motivational Gifts in Romans 12. We exercise our motivation through our ministry (work or profession), and the Holy Spirit determines what manifestation will benefit the receiver the most.

Ministry Gift:

We know that the ministry gifts are the vocation for spiritual service. They are apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor/teacher (See Ephesians 4). These roles are what we see in traditional churches and are offices that are filled for the sole purpose of building up the body of Christ and bringing it to wholeness (perfection better known as maturity).

Spiritual Gifts:

1 Corinthians 12:4-7  Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers], but it is the same Spirit [who grants them and empowers believers]. 5)And there are [distinctive] varieties of ministries and service, but it is the same Lord [who is served]. 6) And there are [distinctive] ways of working [to accomplish things], but it is the same God who produces all things in all believers [inspiring, energizing, and empowering them]. 7) But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit [the spiritual illumination and the enabling of the Holy Spirit] for the common good. 

The manifestation gifts are administered through believers to prove the reality of a living God. It is the Spirit of God that administers these gifts (verse 1. “All these things [the gifts, the achievements, the abilities, the empowering] are brought about by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, distributing to each one individually just as He chooses.” I would add, as the Spirit sees which gifts will benefit the person who will be the recipient of the particular gift. If someone needs healing, the Holy Spirit administers healing through an individual endowed with the Spirit. These gifts are generally manifest to prove the existence of God to unbelievers; or to those God is endeavoring to do a work in. 

Motivational Gifts:

So, what exactly are the motivational gifts for? They are given to help us manage relationships in love with those we know and those we do not know. Each of us possesses certain personality and character traits that motivate us to act in diverse ways.  We are born with these traits. They are necessary to facilitate specific aspects of ministry with others. The motivational gifts described in Romans 12:6-8 are operational in everything we do. They are a with us—a part of us—from birth to grave and can be recognized at a very early age if we know what to look for.

These gifts are multi-purposed: to move humanity forward in faith; to bring us to wholeness; to support one another’s journey; to help us interact with others in peace and harmony. The motivation to express these gifts comes from an inner drive that we all have, to express love. There are seven distinctly different purposes based on the needs of the recipient(s) of the gift. We each possess some aspects of all seven of the gifts, however, we are motivated by one primary gift, sometimes two. That gift will be our focus and move us in the direction that God intends us to personally go.