Tag Archives: a healthy church

November 28; For The Common Good

I Corinthians11:2-13:13

Not long ago I was part of a discussion concerning Spiritual gifts. Is teaching a Spiritual gift? Is music? What about sewing? Paul helped me understand.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God who works all of them in all men. (12:4-6)

The apostle gives us three categories of Spiritual influence: gifts, service, and working. Paul said we are blessed with all three, given by the same Spirit.

The list of Spiritual gifts is specific: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, interpretation of tongues, teaching, administration. (12:7-10, 28) These gifts can and should be used in service to God in the church. But they differ from God given abilities like music, carpentry, sewing, athletic, etc.

I believe Paul wants us to see beyond putting a gift or ability in a correct column. Look at verse 7:

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

Do you know what your Spiritual gifts are? There are online inventories that can help you identify them. I think we need to know the areas in which the Spirit has gifted each of us.

Have you identified your God-given abilities? I believe this is as important as knowing what your Spiritual gifts are. Ignoring them or denying them does not bring honor to to the Giver of those talents and abilities.

Then, knowing your gifts and abilities, how are you using them for the common good of your church fellowship? Paul talks about a healthy body with all the working parts. Is your fellowship crippled because you, as a toe, think what God has given you is not really all that important? Is your church trying to operate without an elbow or an ear because you would rather be an eye?

If you are a Christian, God has given you a Spiritual gift. If you are a human, God has given you certain talents and abilities. And Paul and I believe God has given you those things for you to use for the common good, the furthering of the Gospel in and through your church fellowship.

It’s not a matter of “if” you have gifts and abilities. It’s a matter of what you are going to do with your gifts and abilities for Jesus’ sake and for His glory.

February 13; Busy Hands. Joyful Hearts.

Exodus 33:7-36:7

I’m part of the sewing ministry at our church. And I don’t sew!

Our little group has made draw-string bags for several agencies, including homeless shelters, and the foster care system. We’ve made and filled diaper bags for the Pregnancy Support Center. We’ve made blankets for veterans going on Honor Flight, and wheelchair bags for nursing homes and the VA. We’ve even made dolls and wordless books for mission trips. And those are only the things I can think of off the top of my head.

I don’t sew. But I can string a bag with the best of them. (well, after learning how NOT to prick myself with the safety-pin)

Our group consists of between eight and twenty women who gather at the church once a month to work on the latest project. The sewers plug in their machines along the wall. Those who iron set their station up next to the kitchen. The rest of us sit around round tables with our scissors or string. And we keep busy for about two hours.

But if you walked in on us, you might think you’ve walked into a party. There is always laughter as we sit and talk to each other like schoolgirls.

Sometimes you might walk in and think you walked in on a church service, if someone is sharing a hurt. There’ve been tears shed at sewing, too.

That’s what I’m kind of picturing here as I read about the people creating the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Did the women put their spinning wheels in a circle and enjoy some laughter as they spun their yarn? Did the embroiders sit together and discuss parenting, or share a recipe or two while they worked? If they were anything like our sewing ministry, they most likely found joy in doing the work of the Lord together.

I think God gave us a pretty good picture of a healthy church here in Exodus: Individuals using their gifts collectively to do the work God had for them to do.

I hope you are busy doing what God asks of you. But may I suggest you not do it alone? Gather with other like-minded people and work together. The job certainly is the focus. But the fellowship is a bonus blessing.

Busy hands. Joyful hearts. It’s a pretty great combination.