Monday, June 22, 2015

Marvin J. Ashton on finding our spiritual gift

Elder Marvin J. Ashton (May 6, 1915—Feb 25, 1994) served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles from 1971 until his death in 1994 at age 78.
"Let me mention a few gifts that are not always evident or noteworthy but that are very important. Among these may be your gifts—gifts not so evident but nevertheless real and valuable.
"Let us review some of these less-conspicuous gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost.
"We must remember that to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. It is our right and responsibility to accept our gifts and to share them. God's gifts and powers are available to all of us."
- Marvin J. Ashton, "There Are Many Gifts," Ensign, Nov. 1987, p. 20
Click here to read the full talk

Starting with the premises "there are many gifts" and "to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God" (D&C 46:11), there is much to consider in Elder Ashton's fascinating talk. We love to study the list of gifts that appear in the scriptures and ask what gifts might be the ones given to us. But Elder Ashton suggests there might be many more gifts to consider and starts us with several fascinating suggestions of "less-conspicuous gifts":

  • the gift of asking
  • the gift of listening
  • the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice
  • the gift of being able to weep
  • the gift of avoiding contention
  • the gift of being agreeable
  • the gift of avoiding vain repetition
  • the gift of seeking that which is righteous
  • the gift of not passing judgment
  • the gift of looking to God for guidance
  • the gift of being a disciple
  • the gift of caring for others
  • the gift of being able to ponder
  • the gift of offering prayer
  • the gift of bearing a mighty testimony
  • the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost
Furthermore, the Lord's injunction is to "seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given" (D&C 46:8). We should be asking for additional gifts and working to develop them. What a fascinating concept! What might enable me to better serve God and my neighbor?

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