The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, November 16, 2022, comes to us from Sharon Christen of Texas.
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.
1 Corinthians 12:4-11NRSV
I was sitting in the dining room with some other residents at our senior retirement center. We were talking about previous holidays with family and friends and what our particular job had been in preparing the holiday meal. For some, it was making the pies. For others, it was preparing the stuffing with either corn bread or white bread. My job was making fresh cranberry sauce. As I reflected on this conversation, I realized that the worship and work of the church is much like preparing a holiday meal.
We all have gifts to share. And we all receive gifts from others. During worship service, the preacher preaches, the choir sings, the reader shares scripture, and the acolyte lights the candles. During the week, members pray for those who have submitted requests, Sunday school teachers prepare lessons and pray for their students, and someone always makes sure the coffee is hot and the donuts are out! Whether it’s our family or faith community, each person offers a gift that is necessary to the whole body. With joy, we get to share our gifts and receive the gifts of others.
Each first Sunday, we recite the same opening prayer. The prayer serves as an affirmation of the work we must do to transform ourselves, as well as a petition for God to transform our church. The last sentence in the prayer states: “Bring to us the people who will have what we need to become what you envision us to be.” The last sentence reminds us that we need others to fulfill God vision and purpose, just like others need us to help them see the God in themselves. Sharon’s reflection underscores the important part each of us plays in building an authentic, hospitable, passionate, and joyful community of faith. May we all commit to doing our part along with inviting others to add their unique gifts to the collage of our community of faith.
Dear Lord, give us this day our daily bread, and inspire us to share it. Amen.
-- Sharon Christen
Gratitude for the gifts others share with me.
Thought for the day:
God calls me to share my gifts joyfully.