Never more than in the last several months has it been so evident to me that each of us are endowed by our Creator with different spiritual gifts. It used to be that I thought each of us was very similar – and that’s probably because in my younger days I was arrogant enough to think that I was the center of the universe and anybody who wasn’t like I was must be out of step with things. How wrong I was to think that way!
Years ago, when two friends of mine, Roger and Rich, did quite a bit of ministry work together, I really noticed, perhaps for the first time, how different three men, all presumably in ministry, really were. Roger has a tremendous gift for helping others – he was truly at his best doing things for anyone who needed assistance. Whether it was handing out coffee and donuts or wiring a computer network, you couldn’t ask for a greater servant than my friend Roger.
And then, my other partner, Rich. He has a spiritual gift of administration and if you need something organized, Rich is the guy. And boy, can Rich pray! He has a huge capacity to listen to the hearts of others and somehow petition God on behalf of those in need.
I, however, am the least merciful of the three of us. My gifts fall more into the realm of teaching and leadership. So between the three of us, we had all the bases covered. And we worked that way together for years – assisting many folks who were out of work and struggling with career transition.
Nowadays, however, I am seeing spiritual gifts in an entirely different light. I am much more involved in mentoring the younger generations than I was years ago. And I am noticing now, more than ever, how the different gifts blend together in accordance with the will of God. I have noticed something else as well. As I continue to develop the gifts that I have, I am much more dependent on others for things that I don’t know how to do. In an odd sort of way, I have become more trusting but it’s taken me a while to reach a level of comfort. In fact, I still get stressed out when people don’t show up when they say they will and I know that I am dependent on them to do something that I can’t do…
And believe me, in our new home, there’s quite a bit I don’t know how to do. In fact, I am far better off earning the money to pay others to make sure that things are done right. If the world depended on me to build stuff or repair big items, we would all still be living in caves – and one story ones at that. But our friend, Pat, has a real way with understanding how to get things get done. I really enjoy working with her. And Steve, the former Dean of the seminary I attended, also has a terrific gift of craftsmanship. He has helped build out storage space and the all important dog run for Lexie. How much I have learned to appreciate his gifts as well. There are many others as well who have helped make this transition easier on us – Susan, Larry and Peter to name a few, but the real story here is that each of us sees the world a little differently, brings something different to the table and together we are stronger than each of us is alone.
The verse for this evening is from Paul, who probably spent more time discussing spiritual gifts than anyone else in the entire Scriptures. He really understood that we all need one another to truly accomplish the will of God in this world. He tells us, in 1 Cor. 7:7, “I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” My encouragement this evening is that God has given each one of us unique gifts that are to be used for the advancement of the kingdom and for the betterment of humankind – helping one another. My prayer is that you will use your gifts in a way honoring to God and that people will see your devotion to Him through the things that you do for others. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…