Over the years I have run into many people who do not seem too excited about receiving spiritual gifts. I have never understood this because the Bible is so clear on what our attitude about receiving spiritual gifts should be. To study this let's start in I Corinthians verse 1:
"Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant."
So the first thing we learn is that it's not ok to not know about spiritual gifts. The next thing we learn is that we can have confidence that these gifts are from God. Paul outlines this in verses two and three.
"2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit."
The next thing we learn is the purpose for spiritual gifts:
"7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good."
Paul finishes this thought in verses twelve and thirteen
"12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body?whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free?and we were all given the one Spirit to drink."
If you go over to I Corinthians 14 you see Paul speaking even stronger about receiving spiritual gifts:
"...eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy." I Corinthians 14:1b
The Greek word translated "eagerly desire" is often used in the New Testament as "lust." So Paul is really making a strong statement that we should lust after spiritual gifts. One might then wonder why? Paul goes on in verse three:
"But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort."
From this we can see that when we have spiritual gifts they can help strengthen others. In verse twelve Paul says:
"...Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church."
Again, Paul points out that the purpose of receiving gifts is to build up others, in this case, the church. If you do not have spiritual gifts how will you help build up the church? If you go back to verse four you can see that Paul says:
"He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church."
Here we see that prophecy builds up the church but tongues build up the individual. However, when you think about it, what is the church? It's a group of individuals. So when individuals are built up then the church is built up. Therefore it is best to have the gifts of tongues and prophecy.
The other way of looking at this is from this parable. You go out and spend a lot of time buying a very special gift for someone you love very much. You really work hard on this gift. You spend time and money because you love this person and want them to have more so you they help those around you. You wrap this gift up and present it to this person. When you do, they tell you "no thanks I don't need anything else." How do you feel?