Romans 12:1-8 (click for full reading)
“…so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
The All Better Book
(click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
In our reading from Romans today, Paul is talking about how each of us is blessed with special gifts, often referred to as spiritual gifts, for the purpose of building up the community of faith. Paul even lists some of those gifts in this passage. He lists others in his other letters when talking about spiritual gifts.
St. Paul says in our reading from Romans we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. Did you hear that? Paul does not say something like well you ought to be the body of Christ or if you work hard someday you might be able to become the body of Christ. Paul just says flat out, and he does this in more than one place, you ARE the body of Christ!
I wonder how much thought you have given to your own giftedness. If someone were to ask you what your spiritual gifts are, would you have an answer? Paul writes in 1Corinthians 12:4-6, “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. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
For the common good…
When I look around our congregation here at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Brooklyn Park Minnesota, I see people being the body of Christ and using their gifts all over the place. The other thing I notice is that the people who are using their gifts to build up our community of faith are also the people I would identify as living the most fulfilled and meaningful lives.
In other words, your spiritual gifts are just that… gifts from God. Nurturing those gifts and finding ways to offer them to strengthen the community is less about fulfilling a responsibility and more about opening one of the most precious gifts you have ever received.
Questions to Ponder/Discuss
1. Have you ever thought about what spiritual gifts you have been given?
2. Think about the people you know that are actively offering their gifts to strengthen the ministry of their church (you may or may not put yourself in this category). Do most of these people seem happy and fulfilled by their involvement or stressed and burdened?
3. The thoughts of children were featured in the message this week. Have you experienced the unique giftedness of children?
If you were not present to hear the sermon this week, take a few moments to listen by clicking the link above. Then, go online and explore your own spiritual gifts by taking one (or both) of the fun spiritual gift inventories at the following websites: http://mintools.com/spiritual-gifts-test.htm OR http://www.kodachrome.org/spiritgift