Formations 05.30.2021: Using Our Gifts

1 Peter 4:10-11; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Every single person—created by God in the image of God—is exceptionally unique. There is no other creature who is uniquely me or uniquely you. Even people who are similar to us are not exactly us. Each person has a combination of genetic and personality traits, hopes, dreams, circumstances, qualities, and gifts that makes them one of a kind.

Think of your friends, your family, your coworkers, your church. No matter the group, are any two people exactly alike? What makes them similar? Moreover, what makes them different from each other?

I can think of my own family of four. My husband and I have a similar philosophy about life, a complementary view on political issues, and an affinity for funny television shows. But he operates from a place of order, logistics, and humor. I, on the other hand, operate from a place of spontaneity, uncertainty, and compassion. Our daughters have plenty of similarities as well, but they are also completely different in the ways they approach their day-to-day lives. One is dramatic, chatty, and indecisive. The other is laidback, pensive, and confident. Sometimes the differences incite conflict and resentment among us, but I’m thankful for those differences every day. They’re beautiful and necessary. They make us who we are as a family. They balance us out so that we’re not sitting around weeping and agonizing over our choices…or walking around in a state of nonchalance and laughing at everything. It takes all of us to make our family work.

The same is true in other groups, especially the church. Our texts today highlight the necessity of using our gifts—all of them—in their delightful and sometimes maddening variety.

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. (1 Pet 4:10)

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. (1 Cor 12:4-6)

What would our church be like without our “varieties of gifts”? If everyone had the gift of wisdom and no one had the gift of faith, what would happen? If everyone had the gift of leadership but no one had the gift of service, what would happen? We need our gifts—all of them—to make the church work as it should to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ on earth.

May we discover and use our gifts from God and may we help other people discover and use theirs so that the church is a beautiful tapestry for God’s glory.

Discussion

  • What are the gifts in your family or friend group? What makes each person unique, and why are their gifts essential to keeping your family or friendships healthy?
  • What are the gifts in your church? What makes each person unique, and why are their gifts essential to keeping the church healthy?
  • Imagine that most people in one of these groups use the same gift in the same way. How could this hamper your relationships and, in the case of the church, your ministry? Why is the variety so essential?
  • What is your personal gift? How can you use it to glorify God in your different groups and relationships?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.

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