What usually comes to your mind when you think of someone who is “gifted?” For many of us, a gifted person is usually someone who has a unique talent, skill, trait, or ability that sets them apart from everyone else. Like a professional athlete, world-renown chef, a Grammy-winning musician or Oscar-winning actor or actress, a famous author, cutting-edge scientist, or a transcendent artist. Many would agree that they are truly “gifted” people.
But if we only look at the faces and talents that our culture tends to gravitate toward, we miss out on the bigger picture of what it truly means to be gifted. Don’t hear me wrong, there is much to be celebrated in the musical, artistic, athletic, and intellectual talents that are out there. It is amazing to watch and witness and marvel at how people can do what they do. But that is where we must continue looking and appreciating the variety of gifts that are around us. For example, I am continuously amazed at many gifts that I do not possess that make a difference in my everyday life. What if we expanded our definition of being gifted to areas that include the car mechanic, the computer technician, a wise parent, a faithful friend. These are immensely valuable and important gifts that play a big role in each of our lives. When we see even the little things as gifts, it really changes our scope and perspective in how we view others.
Two things come to mind when I think of a gift or being gifted. The first is that a gift is something that has been given to me by someone else. I probably didn’t do much to merit it or deserve it, it was simply given to me by someone who loves me and will get joy and satisfaction when I put their gift to good use. The second aspect of a gift, or being gifted, that comes to mind is an understanding that they are unique, special, and in many cases, individual. In other words, there are some gifts, talents, skills, and abilities that I will never have in my repertoire. I will never be able to paint like Van Gogh, cook like Gordon Ramsey, jump like Michael Jordan, sing like Whitney Houston, or write like Agatha Christie. This realization is no surprise to me, or the people close to me. And they probably are no surprise to you either when it comes to your own giftedness.
This week, we will be looking at the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Christian church in Corinth. These people lived and operated in a very pagan culture that was morally bankrupt and financially corrupt. They saw variety and diversity in the makeup of their congregation and worship of Jesus and Paul is quick to point out that this is all the work of the same God and the same Spirit. When God infiltrated and transformed their lives by His grace, He gave each of them gifts by His Holy Spirit. These gifts were meant to build, encourage, and support the entire group and it was through this diversity, spreading, and sharing of gifts that God would be glorified in and through the Corinthian church.
Much like these early Christians, we are left in some similar places. We can doubt and question the validity, importance, or value of gifts that others bring into our own context, we can be envious of what others may have and not use what has been given to us, we can horde our individual gifts of the Spirit and miss out on the beauty of sharing and using them in community, or we can celebrate the wide sweep of the brush that God paints with as He builds His Church.
Do you know that each of you are gifted? God has given each of you your own unique makeup that, when brought together in the church, creates, builds, and constructs a beautiful masterpiece that blesses, serves, loves, encourages, and strengthens one another as we live in the gift of faith and grace that is given to each of us.
Pastor Ben Bigaouette