St. Helen’s Daily Lenten Devotional
“There are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit…”
1 Corinthians 12:4
Gifts…wrapped in pretty paper, finished with a bow, marking special occasions…Christmas, birthdays, recognition of a job well done, or of commitment. They may be material objects, books, sweaters, a gift card(!)…they may be consumables: a bottle of wine, a fruit basket, flowers, chocolate…or perhaps something experiential…a trip, theatre or sports tickets, an offering of help to do something specific for the recipient…
Some people are easy to buy for, those with many interests or perhaps one or two great passions. Others we struggle with…sometimes because we have been in relationship with them for a long period of time and we’ve run out of new ideas…sometimes we are really short on cash…sometimes because they rarely receive our gifts gracefully…in other words, they are hard to please.
I’ve not been enraptured with every gift I have ever been given. I am sure I’m not the only one who has wondered, ‘what were they thinking?’. But, I have to admit, sometimes gifts that, at the time, seemed odd, at best, turn out to be a Godsend, so to speak. Sometimes people themselves are gifts to us, and that makes up for the ones who are challenges to our peace of mind and sanity!
The scriptures speak about spiritual gifts most explicitly in Paul’s letters, notably the letters to the Romans, the Ephesians and, the most familiar, 1 Corinthians chapter 12. When God gives us gifts, as God gives everyone gifts, we may or may not be delighted with the offering. Unlike a package, which we can unwrap and enjoy immediately, God’s gifts to us are often more difficult to grasp. Firstly we have to discern what they are and then explore how we might use them, to God’s glory…not for our own sake but for the Body of Christ, the Church, as a whole. That is worth remembering as ministry during 2021 unfolds.
“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 for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7