By Pat Russell
"Gifts of the Spirit" sermon by Mike Banta, April 19, 2020
Text: I Corinthians 12:1-11
Today Mike walked us through the Bible passage entitled “Spiritual Gifts.” He gave us a bit of history and context of the passage before delving into each of the gifts listed, pointing out what that gift is and how it can be and is being used to build up and comfort the Church. Love is the characteristic of anyone exercising any of the gifts and Jesus is our prime example of that love at work. That is why Paul writes first about the exercise of the gifts and then writes about the gift of love. “…if I do not have love, I am nothing.”
Mike did not state that any one gift was more preferred, was of a higher rank than any other gift. All are needed and all are important for our church.
I also remember Brooke Momblow’s devotional on the second half of this same chapter. She pointed out “We are Christ’s body, each of us a different member unique to God’s purpose for the whole. Sometimes we can lose sight of this and only see ourselves and the parts we play or don’t play…. C.S. Lewis said: ‘We like to think we’ve chosen our peers, but as Christians there are no chances. Christ has placed us and reveals to us the beauty of others.’”
So, in these days as we are physically separated from one another but desiring to be spiritually attuned to the Holy Spirit for the unity of our church body and for the glory of Jesus, let’s take on Mike’s suggestions for “going deeper” into understanding the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Here are some of his suggestions, and I have added a couple of my own:
1. Be expectant. The Church celebrates the giving of the Holy Spirit in a broad sense on Pentecost. Pentecost Sunday is in the near future. Between now and then purpose to spend time in expectation of what YOU might receive from God between now and then.
2. Reflect on what is going on in your life. What gift(s) do you see yourself operating in at home with your family and friends, over the internet, and within the church body?
3. How have you seen someone else operating in her/his gift(s) that has been an encouragement to you? Maybe you would like to let that person know what you experienced.
4. Ask someone who knows you well what spiritual gifts that person sees in you.
5. How might you expand the work of the Spirit through your gift(s)? Mike said, “Where can we move into the margins of our gifting?” How might you bless our faith community more?
Finally, in these days of separation and sometimes the feeling of isolation, let’s take Phil’s advice and spend extra time with Jesus, finding a centeredness from his presence with you and guidance from his Spirit within you.
Blessings THIS day,
If you would like to connect with me about “Going Deeper” or about living in these days of confinement and stress, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.