Sunday, August 5, 2012

What are your gifts?

Today was suppose to be our outdoor worship service.  Well despite the heat and high humidity we were set up for outside when at 9:30 a downpour came through causing us to move inside - granted it ended up being nice and not raining throughout the worship service - but better on the safe side.  

Well despite being inside we still had many "outdoor" attributes to our worship service - a participatory Thanksgiving for baptism, communal communion and some interaction during the sermon.  So enjoy these written portion as we explored what are spiritual gifts are together, based on the 2nd lesson for today, Ephesians 4:1-16.


What are your gifts?  Occasionally I hear from people that they feel like they have no gifts, sometimes I feel that way myself. We see Olympic athletes with so much talent, or people who are so passionate about whether to eat at or boycott a fast food chain that doesn’t even exist in Connecticut, that we feel inadequate as a result – that we are not athletic enough to make it to the Olympics or we are not passionate enough about a certain political topic that we are willing to quit our jobs to spend all our time on social media to organize protest or rallies. 

But we still do have gifts.  So what are your gifts?  What makes you stand out from others?  What is a talent that you have?  You may not be the best in the world at it, but you enjoy doing it.  What is a passion that you have?  What is something that you can do or talk about for hours?  Take a moment and write some of those gifts or talents down on the notecard in your bulletin.  Maybe it is a personal quality that you have – people always say that you are funny or smart or caring or always make them feel welcome and at home.  Those qualities are gifts as well, because not everyone has those same personality qualities.

Now here is the hard part – how can you use those gifts to do God’s will in the world?  Let’s brainstorm a little together.

Time of sharing our gifts – thoughts on how to use those to care for God’s world. Have people write down a way to use that to do ministry.

We each have been given different gifts by God because we are each called to do different jobs in Christ.  Some of us are called to be apostles – someone who is sent out to do God’s will in this world.  Some are prophets – people who speak the word of God to others, even when it is hard to hear or hard to say.  Some of us are called to be evangelist – people who share the good news of Jesus with the world.  Others are pastors – literally a feeder of others, someone who feeds others both physically and spiritually.  And yet others of us are called to be teachers – those who instruct others about God. And that is just the short list from our reading from Ephesians today.  There are still disciples – follower of Jesus, deacons who are servants of Christ, visionary who see where Christ is leading us and can help point the way, administrators who help us implement tasks effectively.  And the list goes on. 

And we are given gifts by God with different callings because we are not all meant to be the same – we are not all meant to agree all the time or to all like the same style of worship or to like the same color of carpet in the sanctuary or all the other minor disagreements that many congregations fight over.  But we are all called for the same purpose:  “To use our gifts to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” (NRSV) 

We do this for the greater good and for our own personal good because as we equip other saints, other believers, in doing God’s ministry, we are also deepening our own faith.  We are called to continue our work until: “we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” (NLT)

So what are your gifts?  And how can you use those gifts to equip the saints, yourself included, for God’s work?  Keep that notecard with you – put it on your fridge or the bathroom mirror or your computer or phone, in your purse or car – somewhere that you will see frequently so that you can be reminded that you have been given gifts by God and that you are called to use them in God’s world.