Pastor Devin Smith shares how the church in Corinth and God’s people in Romeo both learned from Paul’s thoughts about spiritual gifts.
DEVIN R. SMITH
Pastor, Romeo UMC
We were reading in 1 Corinthians and talking about the spiritual gifts that Paul has listed there this past Sunday in worship. I encouraged people to listen to those gifts as I read them and to consider where some of their gifts may lie. Was there something that they were being called to, or some way they were being nudged by the Spirit.
But I also took a moment and asked them to hear the list of gifts read again. This time I encouraged them to listen and consider if they heard a gift read that perhaps another might have; a friend, a family member, a co-worker, a neighbor, whoever it might be. I also said that, if they heard a gift that they thought another had, to tell that person and perhaps encourage them to use that gift.
A little later in the day, I had the youth group gathered for their weekly meeting. I intended to have a similar conversation with the young people. I planned to talk about gifts. But our time together went sideways, just a little. If you have ever done youth ministry you will know that this is not an unusual thing to happen. And this wasn’t a bad sideways. Our entire conversation wasn’t sidetracked when the topic of giving thanks came up.
Those students recognized that many of the ministries and many of the fun activities we have at the church are only possible because so many faithful members have put their spiritual gifts to work. Those members have made those opportunities possible because they have followed the Spirit’s leading for their lives. As we followed this ‘thankful’ train of thought, my planned activity got thrown out the window. I found myself sitting around a table with a group of students, making thank you cards instead.
I encouraged them to make a thank you card for one of the teachers or leaders of our Odyssey youth program, for one of our music leaders, for someone from the church that has helped them see God’s love in a special way. But I also encouraged them to go a step further and look outside the walls of our church. To also make a thank you card or two for a parent, a teacher, a neighbor, or a friend. They expressed gratitude for someone who has made a difference in their lives by encouraging them, supporting them, or lifting them up so that they, too, can use their God-given gifts.
I have to admit it was kinda fun. As we sat and made the cards, I heard them share about why they were making a particular card for a particular person, what they had done for them or a memory they recalled. You can see a few of the cards they made. I regret that I didn’t get a picture of all of them together, but I did love seeing their creativity on display. It made for a meaningful time of reflection and recognizing that God has put many, many people in our life paths.
We learned that just because we may not hear the literal voice of God telling us what it is we are to do, it does not mean that God isn’t right alongside us leading us and sending others into our lives to lead us where we are needed.
If you have a chance this week, get out the supplies, some paper, crayons, and scissors and maybe send a thank you note or two of your own. Heck, even if you don’t get out the supplies, take a minute and send a text message or email, or if you are really old school, I understand these crazy cellular devices can still make phone calls, too. Take a minute and offer a word of thanks to someone who made a difference and take a minute to offer a word of thanks to God.
~ Shared with permission from Extraordinary Connection, a collaboration of clergy from across The Michigan Conference with the aim of providing daily encouragement and immersion in God’s word.