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.
3 Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you. 4 We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. 5 In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. 6 We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. 7 If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. 8 If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful.
In the Fall of the first year I was here at Medford, I preached a sermon on humility called, “Dinner with a View” where I used an opening illustration about a young preacher who was eager to share his sermon well-crafted sermon on humility. He walked up to the pulpit, chin held high, yet ended up tripping his way through the sermon, never quite getting into the groove of preaching that day. Embarrassed, he shuffled back to his seat, careful to keep his eyes on the floor, and that’s when an experienced preacher turned to him and said, “young man, if you had gone up the way you went down, you would have gone down the way you went up.”
Giftedness and arrogance unfortunately play a delicate dance with one another. It’s like when filling out a job application and we struggle to write down the things we’re good at without sounding like a jerk, and we struggle to write the things that we’re bad at so that it doesn’t actually show our faults. “My biggest fault is that I’m just too much of a hard worker!”
God has given each one of us beautiful, unique, essential gifts that we should be able to recognize within ourselves and articulate to others so that they can be used to their fullest capacity. Yet often gifts go unused or unnoticed because we are afraid of coming off as if we’re bragging. I wish I had some magical formula to explain how to embrace and share with the world our God Given Great Gifts, but I’m still working on that.
Here’s what I will say, humility goes a long way. People respond well to it and may be more open to new ideas or adding new gifts into the pool of a project. So perhaps, we can decide to share our with our community and friends and family, but with an air of walking up with a humble Spirit that our gifts are part of something bigger and greater, so that we don’t have to walk down with humility.
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Has the fear of sounding “full of yourself” ever stopped you from sharing your gifts and talents? What may be at the root of that? Who is one person you trust to be able to humbly share your gift with this day?
Prayer: God of humility, Your gifts are so precious to us yet sometimes we let them puff our chests. Work your Spirit through us today so that Your gifts in us may thrive for Your mission. Amen.