Sermon – 01-20-19 – Second Sunday After Epiphany – Cycle C
Scriptures: Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 36:5-10; I Corinthians 12:1-11; John 2: 1-11
Sermon Title: “What Is A Spiritual Gift?”
It is something we are supposed to have. If you do not know you are supposed to have one and you have not identified one within you, you are probably saying “I must have been missed when these gifts were distributed.” Well, there must be at least one of these gifts hiding within you.
The “Spiritual” part does not necessarily mean that your gift is religious or understanding the Bible especially well. I think the “Spiritual” aspect is that it is given to us by the Holy Spirit. Whatever your gift or talent is, if it can be used to the glory of God, it can be called a Spiritual Gift.
How does that translate for our congregation at Zion Womelsdorf? Well, if you would actually enjoy welcoming people outside either door on a Sunday morning, that would be your spiritual gift. If you can easily climb a ladder to change light bulbs in the church, that could be called your spiritual gift. If your talent is being used to glorify God, it is a spiritual gift.
What else could your gift be? Oh my, this will take a while. Do you enjoy baking, sewing, cleaning, washing dishes, preparing communion, painting, decorating, giving church cards to anyone you pass, raking leaves, shoveling snow, planting and caring for flowers? Did I hit your gift yet? What else is there? Changing the sign at the corner? Did I mention cleaning? Doing small repairs? Singing? Being the second adult for Children’s Church? Sending cards to our homebound or sick or birthday people? Surely, you have thought of something that you enjoy doing that would glorify God. How about preparing several meals that we could freeze to give to people who are temporarily unable to cook?
Of course reading scripture for all of us to hear and digest in our souls, being the acolyte and the crucifer, being a greeter, organizing readers and greeters, caring for the candles, counting the money, paying bills, preparing the bulletin, keeping records of all kinds straight – these are all spiritual gifts if we are doing them because we are able to do them well and they help the group. The bonus is if we ENJOY doing them. Or maybe we dislike doing them but we want to serve the Lord. and it gives us deep-down pleasure. Nursing! Being a companion to a person who needs assistance. Did I get to your gift yet? This sermon sounds like the cover of the bulletin looks!
Identifying spiritual gifts is exhausting and endless. Just when we think we know all our gifts, someone pulls another one from our inner being. Are you a poet and did not know it?
The same ability can be used for good or for bad. Being a leader could pull people into bad activities, activities that destroy a person instead of building-up a person. When we have an ability, it is our responsibility to use it for good – to make the world a better place, to make a person feel good about himself or herself. We need to think about helping rather than hurting. Are we acting for the common good or for ourselves? Are we spreading love with our actions or are we growing hate; are we welcoming people or building walls at work, at school, in church? Are we being inclusive or are we excluding people?
Maybe we think we are too ordinary to have a unique gift. Can you think of people you know who look very ordinary? Yet, when that very person starts to speak, or creates a beautiful flower arrangement, or creates a wonderful shape from a piece of wood, or a farmer who knows just when to plant or harvest, or someone who can quiet a child just by touching it or being present with the child, we are seeing spiritual gifts. Gifts that were given by the Holy Spirit person of God when we were being formed in our mother’s womb.
Are you part of a community? Do you work with another person or two hundred other persons or more? You are part of that community. Do you live in a family? That is a community. Do you come to church to worship? The worshiping body is a community. Did you ever go to a school board meeting or a township meeting? The attendees plus the leaders form a community for that point in time. What happens in worship, what happens in meetings, what happens in a choir rehearsal, what happens in a classroom is determined by each person’s gifts and ways of being.
If every person in that room had the same gifts, the meeting may not be as effective as it could be because everyone is like-minded, like-gifted. If persons of different gifts are gathered and are invited to participate, the thinking reaches a new level. Various approaches or insights or possibilities take the thinking of the whole assembly to a wider view.
The interesting and necessary thought is that our Spiritual Gifts, given to us by the Holy Spirit, need to have the Holy Spirit involved in their use. Our talents, abilities, interests usually fall flat if we forget to invite the Holy Spirit.
Lord of our gifts, remind us to invite you as Holy Spirit to our every thought, our every action, our every opening of our wings, each opening of our lids. Let your breath of fresh air and enthusiasm bring our community to new heights of service and effectiveness. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen