Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing devotions based on the United Methodist membership vows, where we pledge to support the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. This week’s focus is GIFTS.
11 He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. 12 His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ 13 until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ.
Back when I was studying theatre, one of the most common yet most annoying comments I would get from people was, “You better also get a degree in education, just in case.” Let’s put aside the complete lack of trust in my artistry, I found it rather insulting that people often just assumed that teaching is a “backup” plan. I didn’t like the idea that people would speak about the craft of teaching as something that I could just fall into, that it was something that anyone could do. Teaching is a calling, it takes a specific set of gifts and skills and training, it takes A LOT of patience (of which I can’t say I have).
In today’s scripture, which is the lead into yesterday’s text, Paul talks about just some of the types of callings and gifts people can have in their life: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. He talks about how giving all sorts of people these very different kinds of gifts serves and builds up the entire body of Christ as a whole. The letter then transitions into the focus of yesterday, the idea of growing our gifts.
When we talk about gifts, we often talk about recognizing and celebrating the gifts within ourselves, but we don’t always practice recognizing and celebrating the gifts in others. We don’t always practice looking at the God-given skills in another, see someone just excelling at what they do and be ready to say, “wow, I could never do that.” In those situations, we are often led to belittle or judge because we’re actually jealous of what others can do. I’m often jealous of someone who is great at teaching – I could never do what they do! Perhaps taking the time to recognize and celebrate others is what’s needed today.
Particularly through these past few years of COVID, I give God thanks for teachers!
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Is there a gift you wish you had and it just isn’t something that comes naturally to you? Perhaps it’s something you’ve even practiced and still, to no avail. What kinds of feelings arise when you come across someone who does have that gift? Next time your quick to shift to the negative emotion, try forcing a positive celebration that a gift you see as beautiful and important, someone has for the glory of God.
Prayer: Dear Lord, you have molded some of us into trusted leaders, some into faithful followers, some into preachers and others into teachers. May we celebrate each of these people so that we can work together for the glory of God! Amen.