What are they for? These gifts are given to believers for the purpose of encouraging each other in the faith, and proclaiming the goodness of God to a fallen world. These gifts are used for building up!
What are the gifts? 1 Corinthians 12-14 is a great place to start reading about the spiritual gifts, but for a quick sampling, some of the gifts mentioned are: wisdom, knowledge, and healing. This list is not exhaustive, as there are many giftings God has blessed his church with. Many cite hospitality, service, and musical ability as gifts from the Lord.
1 Corinthians 12 goes on to say that we have different gifts in the church so that we will depend on each other. The church is often illustrated as a body, per Paul’s analogy. Not everyone can be a foot or an eye. Not everyone can have the gift of mercy or teaching. If we all shared the same giftings, we would be unbalanced. By having and sharing different gifts, we are able to be fully formed in Christ.
One gift is not better than the other. You might look at a leadership position in the church and feel like you don’t contribute as much. Paul addressed this when he says in 1 Corinthians 12 verses 21-23, “The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.”
You have a spiritual gift and you are needed in the body of Christ. Likewise, you also need the other members of the church to strengthen and build you up! It is beautiful that God created us to love and depend on each other, as we love and depend on Christ himself.