This text is so familiar I am having trouble hearing it with fresh ears.
Just read it in Peterson’s “Message”. Heard something new in the text I had not expected. This whole business about not discarding a part of the body because it’s function is not as dramatic, visible, glorious, etc… How does that apply to different demographics within the church? How do I hear Paul as I think about senior adults, children, youth, single adults, divorcees, etc? What happens when we honor one group’s contributions more than another? What happens when we put more emphasis on serving one group, or giving one group an opportunity to serve? AT Forest Grove, where we are intergenerational, how do we continue to celebrate and honor the gifts of all? How does this text become a call for our community involvement that honors and celebrates the gifts and contributions of all? Do senior adults come to feel that their contributions are not valued? Do children or youth feel that way? Do women, or men, feel that way? How do I as the pastor lead the way in honoring and celebrating the gifts that different individuals and groups offer? How does this fit in with my ministry of encouragement? I’m terrible at being organized about my ministry to individuals, but I think there is a place in all of this for thinking more about responding to and keeping up with individuals. I wonder how I can enlist the help of a few to support this effort? As I look at our Elders, I wish to better understand their gifts, where they are in their spiritual journey, and how I can support and encourage them individually in their walk, and particularly in their ministry. I want to meet with each of them this fall and allow them time to tell me about their journey, and about what they need from me. I will need to do the same with the Ministry Council and other ministry leaders. Perhaps through this I can model and teach them to do the same for those they each lead.
12:7 Something from the Spirit can be seen in each person, for the common good… 11 One Spirit, the same Spirit, does all these things, and the Spirit decides what to give each person.
Each person has a gift, some kind of gift. And whatever gift you have is no source of pride or humility for you, because it was by God’s doing, not your own. And all the gifts have been given for the sake of the whole. What would happen in my ministry if I began asking everyone what their gifts for ministry are, and began praying with and for each person to understand and use their gifts. All the way from Maddie and Alex up to JD and Boots & Cotton. How will my ministry, and its impact, change as I change the focus of my conversations with people? As I honor and encourage them by lifting up and helping them to claim and live into their gifts for ministry. How can I do this better with folks who stir frustration in me?