January 17, 2010

Different Gifts

St. Paul tells us what he told the church at Corinth (1 Cor 12:4-11) - that we're given different gifts from the Holy Spirit. Each of us receives the gift or gifts we need to perform our service to the Lord. Gifts vary greatly, from speaking in tongues and discerning spirit, to teaching and wise management. Being a good organizer or an effective teacher may seem less a gift than prophecy, but Paul would disagree.

You may not find your gift valuable or recognize it as a gift at all. Paul reminds you that "there are different forms of service but the same Lord". Variety is more than the spice of life, it is a necessity of life. Without each role, even the seemingly small ones, the whole could not function. The Body of Christ - the Church - needs every part working together.

Perhaps you feel jealous of another's seemingly more important gift. I think Paul would tell you that each manifestation of the spirit - even those seemingly mundane - is chosen specifically for that individual and for their benefit. Your gift is yours for a reason, regardless of whether you see it yet.

Lastly, you may wonder why God has given you a particular gift. Why hasn't He given you an easier one or a more desirable one? Paul reminds you that gifts are given as the Spirit wishes, not as you wish. God gives the gift that will enable the service He desires, that fits His plan for you.

We are each called to use our gifts - and use them toward the same goal as the rest of the Body of Christ, the Church. The instruction that Mary gives in John's Gospel (John 2:1-11) applies to each of us: Do whatever He tells you.

If you know what gift you have been given, pray for guidance in using it well for God. Think on ways you can direct your own spiritual gifts to the Church. As your pastor for ideas. If you aren't certain what gifts you have been given, pray to recognize them more readily. Think on what talents you have, what time or knowledge or skill you have. And pray for the wisdom to recognize your gifts. Let us all pray today in gratitude for the gifts God has given each of us.

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