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1 Corinthians 12:4-13

NOTE: While Pastor Charlie is on a trip out of the country through June 5, he has chosen some of his favorite blog posts from his weblog from 2020 to 2021 to share.

From: June 9, 2020

1 Corinthians 12:4-13

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

I will let you in on a little secret… there is a benefit of being a pastor that you may not know at first glance. The benefit is that we are in the forgiveness business, so if I ever make a mistake, all I have to do is remind the congregation that forgiveness is what we are all about!

Grace abounds!

You can only use that excuse so many times before people catch on, though. Best to not pull that card out too often.

Kidding aside, I AM thankful that the church is a place where forgiveness and grace is foundational. I believe it is vitally important as we live our lives as spirit-filled and spirit-equipped children of God.

St. Paul tells the church in Corinth that there are many gifts, and all the gifts make up the body of Christ. The promised Holy Spirit has come upon us in baptism. You and I are equipped to do God’s work. God said it. I believe it. That settles it!

To use some bigger words, we believe that in the waters of baptism, we are not only recipients of justification (being made RIGHT in the eyes of God) but also of vocation (our calling).

Theologian Frederick Buechner wrote, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

What brings you joy? How can your joy-filled serving feed a hungry world?

Don’t think only of food and clothing. Think of what the world desperately needs.

I remember sharing a sermon on spiritual gifts years ago. Afterwards, a mother came to me with her seventh-grade daughter. Her daughter had said to her mom, “My gift is dance. Do you think I can dance in church?”

The church I served at that time had NEVER had anyone dance in church. But who was I to say no to the Spirit of God?

So a few weeks later, the girl danced. She choreographed the dance herself, and performed a dance to the hymn, “Shine, Jesus, Shine!” She had heard the song at a youth event, and wanted to share it with our congregation. We were all fed and nourished by her gift!

The world desperately needs to see the beauty of God, in dance, in music, in art. The world desperately needs to know of peace and love and forgiveness and grace.

And what better place to try out your gifts than in the church, whose calling it is to forgive and allow grace to abound.

That is no secret! It is who we are.

Let us pray: Filled with your Spirit, empower us and encourage us to try out these gifts to feed a hungry world. And when we stumble and fall, remind us again that we are forgiven and forever your beloved. We pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

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