Friday, October 24, 2008

Having Then Gifts Differing

When I was in high school, I memorized Romans 12 in the King James Version.
In fact, I did a lot of memorizing in my childhood - all KJV. Now I use the NIV, so I get hopelessly muddled when I seek to call scripture to mind; but that's another story.

Some of the KJV wording just sticks.

One phrase that has been floating through my thoughts lately is "having then gifts differing . . . " It's a call to use the unique gifts God has given to serve the Body of Christ. If you have the gift of teaching, then teach, if the gift of service, then serve, etc.

As I've processed the Motiv8 tour, thinking back over the days on the road with seven other authors, I rejoice in the diverse gifts God gave even this band of writers. We traveled together because we have in common that we are Christians, that we have a passion for using the written word to communicate about our faith, that we all write fiction, and that we specifically write fantasy fiction. That's a lot to have in common.

Yet even among this homogenous group, the variety of callings, spiritual gifts, and artistic talents was immense. Several of the group are teachers, and their skill at speaking to grade-school or middle-school audiences was obvious. One of the group is a youth pastor, and his ability to grab the hearts of high-school students was tremendous.

Me? I generally speak to church women's groups, book clubs, writer's groups, and retreats, so as far as our programs, I appreciated the last evening's event where I could share a brief devotion with adults.

I took away a few thoughts about "having then gifts differing."

* Seeing the beautiful talents of others being used (music, acting, story-telling, writing for children, counseling youth) helped me appreciate that God is doing amazing things around the world through His people.

* Serving in ways that are not my calling is so good for creating humility. Too often, I embrace opportunties to use my gifts that allow me to shine. Doing work that I was clumsy at was a good reminder of how flat and lifeless my efforts are if they aren't anointed by Him.

* I have a new appreciation for the times that God matches up the gifts He's given me with an opportunity to serve. That's a privilege, not a right. I'm looking forward to upcoming speaking events with new enthusiasm.

* Frederick Buechner wrote, "The place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet." I've always liked that explanation of vocation. But above and beyond that, I'm a servant. And sometimes God calls me to a place that isn't such a good fit - and then my job is to obey and lean on Him even more.

* The tender love of Christ was manifest to me in new ways by the other members of the tour - again through their different gifts: humor, prayers of faith, firm admonition to sit and rest, kind offers to help me with my suitcase, a quiet question about how I was doing. It was another example of how precious each member of the Body of Christ is, and how uniquely able to meet needs.

So let's face this new day ready to use the gifts God has given us, and even ready to serve in ways that we are NOT gifted, if that's what He asks.

Just by BEING the person He made you to be, you are bringing Him joy.

Sharon Hinck


Cheryl Klarich said...

Wonderful thoughts to ponder. I've been doing some soul searching along those lines. Thanks for painting such a clear picture of the diversity in the body of Christ.

Shinichi Ito said...

Christmas! 'Tis the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial fire of charity in the heart.Keep it up Nice blog.