Let us pray. Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us coworkers in your creation. Give us wisdom and reverence to use our resources wisely in your service so that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Variety of Gifts
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, one of the many topics he addressed was the gifts God has given us and how those gifts are to be used. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, Paul writes.
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. (1 Cor 12:4-7)
Your gifts may be in the area of music or sports, art or mathematics, teaching or building. You may have the gift of time to share or financial resources or patience. Regardless of what your particular gifts may be, as Christians, we believe that those gifts are given by God and that they are to be used in God’s service. Whether you are an athlete, mathematician or builder, when you use your gifts you have an opportunity to both help people see God and to build up the whole community. Individually we may be able to accomplish a great deal, but when we used our gifts in concert with others, we truly begin to discover what it means to be a part of the body of Christ and what an impact that can make in our lives and in the world.
Claiming Our Gifts
As children of God, claimed as God’s own, blessed by the Holy Spirit and sent out into the world, we are each blessed with gifts from God. Each of us has something helpful and powerful to share with the whole community. Sometimes we may not recognize our gifts and sometimes we may not be comfortable with our gifts, but each of us has gifts, so how do we go about claiming the gifts God has given us?
There are lots of tools in the world to help you claim the gifts God has given you. Your congregation may use something called a Spiritual Gifts Inventory. Here’s one example of a Spiritual Gifts Inventory developed by the United Methodist Church: Spiritual Gifts Inventory. It’s only 21 Questions, but it might help you see a few areas where you are particularly gifted by God.
If you don’t find the Spiritual Gifts Inventory helpful, you can often discover some of God’s gifts to you by asking yourself the following questions.
- What do I have fun doing?
- What is something I feel I do well?
- What do other people say I do particularly well?
Sharing Our Gifts
Once you begin to have a sense of what your gifts may be, then it is time to ask yourself – how can I use my gifts in God’s service. Sometimes the answer is obvious, but often it takes prayer or reflection or the insight of family and friends to see the areas in which God is calling you to use your gifts.
Here are a few examples of how people used their gifts in God’s service as a part of the ELCA God’s Work, Our Hands Sunday.
Action and Reflection Questions
- Using the Spiritual Gifts Inventory or the questions above, identify one gift you have been given by God.
- In the comments below, share one of your gifts and one way that you think you could use that gift in God’s service.
Let us pray. O God, in your love you have given the people of this land gifts of abundance beyond what our forebears knew or could imagine. Mercifully grant that we may not be so occupied with material things that we forget spiritual gifts, and thus, even though we have gained the whole world, lose our souls; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Opening and Closing Prayers adapted from Sundays and Seasons.com. Copyright 2017 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #25165.