People often have a combination of two or three gifts that make them unique. This would be shown by the top two or three percentages in your profile. There is a possible 100% for each gift.
For your convenience, the following are definitions of the seven gifts and the behaviors of each gift seen in scripture. Many of these behaviors are seen in both non-Christians and Christians. The Greek root word for each gift (used in Romans 12) is provided to give a better understanding of the essence of each gift.
The first motivational gift in Romans 12 is the gift of Perceiving. The Greek word for this gift is “propheteia.” In scripture, we can see specific traits and behaviors of the gift of Perceiving. They are: 1) the ability to interpret scripture, 2) to reveal information to others, and 3) an ability to speak the mind of God.
Perceivers have a keen sense of right and wrong. This is a form of discernment that is seen in both Christians and non-Christians. It is because of this sense of right and wrong that Perceivers hold very high standards. They tend to be perfectionists because of their high standards and often become their own worst critics. In some cases, Perceivers do not realize their gift and they can become very critical of other people or situations, which emerges as a pessimistic attitude.
The primary function of this gift is to reveal information the Perceiver has discerned in a way that will help others. This information is not always positive and well received. As a result, Perceivers sometimes appear direct, blunt, or inconsiderate of the feelings of others particularly when sharing this information with people possessing different motivational gifts. This is a classic case of the gift being misunderstood because their real intention is to help people.
In contrast, at times the primary function of the gift is not to reveal the information the Perceiver has discerned – in these cases, God has allowed the Perceiver to discern such things so they can pray about them. Often when people do not understand the purpose of this gift, they can feel (and become) judgmental instead of prayerful. Make no mistake about it, this information is purposefully shown to the Perceiver for a reason!
Another behavioral tendency intrinsic to Perceivers is their intense disdain for injustice. This gift provides strong motivation to “stand up for what is right.” Perceivers apply their values and convictions to everyday life. Often Perceivers are passionate about a principle or cause and have the right message but present it as a zealot and repel the audience they needed to attract. How Perceivers present a message will be a large measure of their success.
Depending on the other dominant gifts working in the Perceiver’s life, it is common that a Perceiver would have a small number of close friends. They tend to be private individuals due to their introspective nature and high standards. A large circle of friends may require tolerance of behaviors they find unacceptable. The friendships they do have go very deep and Perceivers are loyal friends and partners.
The second motivational gift is the gift of service. The Greek word for service is “diakonia.” Throughout the New Testament scriptures there are three specific behaviors or traits demonstrated. They are: 1) providing for the physical, material, or spiritual needs of people 2) taking care of the less fortunate in society such as the poor or the widowed and 3) helping in the distribution or collection of food, clothing, etc. to give to those in need.
Servers are particularly skilled to quickly identify tasks that need to be done. They are very cognizant of their surroundings. Perhaps this comes from their need to provide for others as seen in scripture. Servers are the first to lend a hand. Often they work in the background providing services that others will never see. Servers show their loyalty through action rather than words.
What motivates a Server is helping someone else. Because Servers have a tendency to prefer jobs in support roles, they are not usually in the forefront or public eye. They prefer to accomplish their tasks without an audience and therefore, their personalities tend to be more quiet and reserved. Unfortunately, some people interpret the reserved nature of a Server and the desire to work behind the scenes as being uninterested. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Servers see the needs “behind the scenes,” as essential to making things work on the “front lines.”
Servers are efficient and “keep things moving.” They keep on task (and often keep others on task) to be sure needs are met. They identify strongly with what they do to help others and if their help is rejected, they may feel personally rejected. Depending on other dominant gifts working in a Server’s life, they may be talented event planners. Servers have a natural ability to look ahead and plan what will be needed.
The third motivational gift in Romans 12 is the gift of teaching. The Greek root word for teaching is “didaskalia.” The scriptures illustrate how one with the gift of teaching uses sound, rational, and instructive reasoning to convince and help others to learn.
People with the gift of teaching are consummate debaters. It is how they convince and help others to learn. It doesn’t matter if they are in the office or at home, people with the gift of teaching are constantly thinking on their feet. Teachers need to know the reasoning behind concepts or ideas. They do not take anything at face value. Teachers can appear argumentative while they are simply trying to gain further understanding.
They have the ability to synthesize ideas, which results in a constant mental flow of information. Since their mind is always running and exploring new concepts, they tend to be self-motivating and self-starters. People with the gift of teaching need intellectual stimulation. They easily get bored with routine tasks as they love to learn and keep their minds busy.
Teachers usually enjoy research and love the opportunity to share something they have learned. Depending on other dominant gifts working in a Teacher’s life, they tend to be talkative people when it comes to explaining beliefs or ideas. Teachers have an ability to make difficult concepts easy to understand. Their motivation is to help others learn and grow in understanding, skill, and competency.
Teachers tend to be gifted intellectually and often seek to become experts in their fields or specific subject areas. Their analytical skills often push them toward the higher level math and sciences. The ability to see patterns of behavior in situations allows them to diagnose or expose problems that others do not see. Often teachers are sought out for this wisdom and find themselves giving advice to others on a regular basis.
The Greek root word for encouraging is “paraklesis.” The scriptures show that the gift of encouragement will 1) edify and exhort 2) give peace to a troubled mind through speaking a message of encouragement and 3) bring joy and comfort.
Encouragers have the ability to call forth the best in others through encouragement and motivation. Thus naturally, people with the gift of encouragement feel comfortable around people and tend to have extraverted personalities. Anecdotal research shows that Encouragers not only encourage others but also like to prescribe practical advice. Encouragers want to see people improve and succeed. They have an ability to bring new life to people who have lost their determination and feel burnt out.
Encouragers are good with every personality and gift. However, because they are considerate of the feelings of others, they can easily be offended when people are not considerate toward them. Encouragers can be over-talkative and eager to share, jumping into conversations.
Depending on other dominant gifts working in an Encourager’s life, this gift can result in the most gregarious personality. They usually have a large circle of friends, which leads to an Encourager having influence with people. This often leads to a charismatic leadership style.
Encouragers sometimes find themselves in positions of leadership by default due to their optimism, motivation, and inspiration to others. They are gifted with an ability to make connections with people (often people in key positions). Encouragers are natural networkers.
The Greek root word for giving is “metadidomi” meaning to impart. The New Testament scriptures show that giving is characterized by: 1) being charitable or having a charitable attitude 2) giving much out of little 3) specifically contributing to the less fortunate and 4) giving of one’s excess or bounty to those who have nothing.
Income is not the only way to determine whether someone has the gift of giving. Givers also donate their time through volunteer work or helping others in some way. They are characterized by hospitality. Perhaps the easiest way to identify a Giver is their generous and charitable nature.
In an organization, this extends to making personal sacrifices of time and self. Givers can make wonderful customer service representatives because they enjoy taking care of needs, often going above and beyond to satisfy a customer. When the patience and generosity of others has run out, the true Giver will continue to be gracious.
Givers are fulfilled by knowing the gift they gave (of either money, time, or resources) brought joy and aid to another, whether the recipient knew the source or not. They tend to be frugal and industrious people. Depending on other dominant gifts working in the Giver’s life, a Giver tends to have an independent nature.
They are motivated by a desire to help others. Sometimes this is through charitable work or organizations that provide food or medical treatment to the disadvantaged. Other Givers excel in critical thinking, design, and math & sciences enabling them to establish projects or organizations of their own that provide directly for these needs.
Even if this entrepreneurial tendency is not seen, Givers often find themselves managing or working in positions that require financial and mathematical proficiency (accounting, financial planning, investing, budget analysts, accounts payable departments, or handling finances for organizations in some way). There are some Givers who do not experience the financial aspect of their gift. In these cases, a Giver is still compelled to meet a particular need of others through a specific call on their life. A true giver is motivated to be generous and gracious.
The sixth gift in Romans 12 is the gift of Ruling. The Greek root word for leader is “proistemi,” which translates “rule.” The scriptures illustrate how a Ruler will: 1) set good examples 2) provide sound counsel 3) give admonition and warning to the people of dangers they are headed toward 4) reprove for negligence and 5) rule with love versus rigor.
What makes the gift of Ruling unique is the ability to see the “big picture.” The Ruler looks ahead for possibilities and dangers. The ability to guide people and communicate to them regarding how to develop the “big picture” gives the Ruler an assertive, take-charge attitude. So, naturally, Rulers can appear bossy to other people who do not understand the gift.
A Ruler has an ability to bring order by setting up structures, systems, and methods for others to follow. The behaviors of a Ruler are similar to behaviors of the other motivational gifts. The difference is in the motivation of the Ruler, which is to move everyone toward a common goal.
Like the Perceiver, the Ruler will give admonition and warning of upcoming situations. Like the Teacher, a Ruler will provide sound counsel and instructive reasoning to convince the people of the common goal. Like the Encourager, a Ruler will motivate and inspire others to achieve and succeed. Like a Server and Giver, a Ruler is very task driven and independent.
The Greek word for mercy is “eleeo.” In the New Testament, those with the gift of Mercy are: 1) compelled to have compassion for people, 2) help people in misery, and 3) pity the ignorant and instruct them.
People gifted with Mercy are the first to listen and sympathize when someone is suffering. They feel that sympathizing with others is a valuable use of their time. This gift is concerned with the condition of the person who is suffering or in trouble. Often people with this gift have a strong desire to relieve the pain of others. This is why people with the gift of Mercy are usually effective in roles that require compassion, such as physical therapists, social workers, or counselors. The gift of Mercy is also effective in human resource departments, where employee concerns are addressed.
It is this ability to show compassion and mercy that enables the person with this gift to demonstrate a large amount of patience. They are less likely to become frustrated when people repeatedly come to them with problems unlike those gifted in the other areas.
Depending on other dominant gifts operating in one’s life, the gift of Mercy tends to attract hurting, emotionally needy people. Like Givers, Mercy also has a gracious nature. However the gift of Mercy is easier to take advantage of and this can result in burn out. A person with a Mercy gift must set boundaries, so they do not get sucked into the problems of others. This gift can show mercy in a cheerful way, bringing joy to gloomy places. Remember to take care of yourself, so you have the “emotional reserve” to listen and take care of others!