The spiritual gift of helps – What is it?
The gift of helps is found only in 1 Corinthians 12:28. Some connect it as identical to the gift of mercy mentioned earlier in the same chapter.
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The gift of helps is not defined in this particular verse and different interpretations of how the gift of helps manifests exist. Clearly, though, it speaks of a person gifted in assisting others with needs. The needs may be more practical in nature. Helping may be related to providing assistance in a way as to enable another to accomplish their ministry task. Or the needs may be more spiritual in nature; a helper would provide others with encouragement or discernment or the like. All Christians are called to help others in need (Luke 10:25-37), yet some are clearly more gifted in this role than others.
In Paul's writings, the Christians at Philippi appear to have been very gifted in helping others. Philippians 4:15-16 shares, "And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again."
In Acts 9:36, a woman named Tabitha was known as gifted in helping others: "Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity." Though not specifically mentioned as having the gift of helps, she certainly exhibited this ability in a way that stood out to others.
In Romans 16:3-4, we find a married couple gifted in helping Paul: "Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well." Again, their efforts in helping Paul became so well known that he wrote about them to the Roman Christians. Still today, we read about their helpful actions to God's people.
The gift of helps can be viewed using an analogy from basketball. A team usually has one or two star players who score many points. But these star players require a person who can effectively pass the ball to them to make points. Each time a person passes the ball to the person who scores, it is called an assist. In a similar way, those who exhibit the gift of helps are usually not the "star players" everyone sees. Instead, their vital work quietly helps to assist those in need, building up the church in service to Christ.
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