This means Christians not only must determine how their talents equip them for a certain range of work, but also how their gifts equip them for a certain range of ministry in Christ’s name.
It is not always easy or necessary to make distinctions between “natural talents” and “spiritual gifts,” since ultimately they are all from the Spirit of God (Ex. 31:1-11; Isa. 45:1-7; and James 1:17). God may adopt a talent and use it spiritually to build up others or the church; then again, he may not. As J. I. Packer points out, sometimes a very mediocre talent or ability can somehow be adapted by God into a spiritual gift, while at other times, a great talent in a Christian never seems to be used as a spiritual gift or ministry.
As we exercise our spiritual gifts, we also need to avoid two great problems: “gift cop-out” and “gift projection.” Every single one of the gifts is also a task, or assignment, given to all Christians. Not all are evangelists, but everyone is a witness. Not all are deacons or deaconesses, but all are to serve. “Gift cop-out” is saying, “Since I’m not gifted at that, I don’t have to do it at all!”
“Gift projection” works in two opposite ways: Making yourself feel guilty that you aren’t as gifted or good as someone else is, and making others feel guilty that they aren’t a passionate or as good at what you do as you are. It is all too easy to try to make the whole church over into your image–making it strictly an evangelistic church, or a justice church, or a cultural center, or an intense discipleship community.”