It is a Gift

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith

Rev. Rita S. Platt

April 27, 2014

Teachers’  Appreciation Sunday

“It is a Gift”

Scripture            1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-7, 27-28

Traditionally they have been called “child prodigies,” although educators often label them as “gifted and talented.” They are young people blessed with unbelievable intelligence, or amazing artistic talents, or seemingly unnatural physical abilities. We have all heard stories about a twelve-year-old graduating from medical school, or a six-year-old playing concert worthy classical music on the piano. Examples of child prodigies would include Mozart who learned to play the piano at the age of four. He composed his first pieces of music at five and at age eight, he wrote his first symphony. Another example would be Pablo Picasso who had already become an accomplished and renowned painter in his teenage years.

In more recent history a young man named Michael Kearney received national attention when he earned a $1,000,000 on the television game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” He too was a “child prodigy.” Michael finished high school at age 6 and earned his first college degree at age 10. He actually began teaching college by the age of 17. He spoke his first words when he was four months old. At the age of six months, he said to his pediatrician, “I have a left ear infection.” He had learned to read at the age of ten months. When Michael was four, he was given diagnostic tests for the Johns Hopkins precocious math program and achieved a perfect score. 

Although their stories astound us, such gifted individuals are very rare. They are the exception to the rule, as we say. The vast majority of us are astoundingly average. And yet as I look at you today I can say with confidence that each of you is gifted. Before you deny being gifted remember that I am not the one saying you are gifted. God says it of you and God cannot lie. Listen to God’s description of how you are gifted: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

As we direct our attention to the Apostle Paul’s inspired words from 1 Corinthians 12:7, we hear God say to each of us: “YOU ARE GIFTED!”  The Holy Spirit has given you gifts for serving others.

The Apostle Paul continued making his point to the Corinthians about the source of spiritual gifts. “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 works all of them in all people.”

The spiritual gifts come from the Spirit’s working in us.

After making the point that the Corinthian Christians were gifted because the Holy Spirit had given them the gift of faith, Paul went on to remind them that they also had been given gifts for serving others.

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

There wasn’t a single believer at the Church in Corinth who could say he or she had no spiritual gift to use in service to God and others. Each of them had at least one gift to be used for serving others for the “common good” of all. So are things any different for us? No! The same truth applies to each and every one of us. You and I are gifted. The Holy Spirit has given us at least one gift to use in service to others.

Are you using your gift?

If you do some research on child prodigies or gifted and talented children you will find one common problem that most of them experience: gifted children are often bored in school or with life in general. Very often they are never challenged to use their gifts and so they could easily waste them. I believe the same thing happens to many Christians. Their gifts go unused because they are never challenged or asked to put their gifts to use.

I am asking every one of you right now to look honestly at yourself, find your spiritual gift or gifts, and put it or them to use in service to others.

“You are gifted!” Did you ever think someone would say that about you? Perhaps your reactions would be, “Who, me, gifted? I don’t think so!” Well, God says it about you.  You may not be able to play music like Mozart or paint like Picasso. But, nonetheless, you are gifted.

As gifted people may we now use our gifts. Amen.