Sit back for a special treat from Jed Royal. He’s one of the key guys who make ManUp happen each month. Take it away, Jed…
Discussing spiritual gifts always makes me a little uncomfortable. Whenever the topic comes up, I usually find a way to make a joke (“golf is my spiritual gift”) to move the conversation along to something less unnerving (preferably golf at that point — see how I did that? Go go gadget awkward conversation avoider). The problem with talking about spiritual gifts for me is that I still don’t know what my spiritual gift is, and I’ve been at this Christianity thing thirty years. Seems like I should have that one locked down by now.
David brought up spiritual gifts in his sermon last week, reminding us that the point of a spiritual gift isn’t about the one who possesses the gift, but about the contribution that it brings to the broader body of Christ, all inspired by the work of the Holy Spirit. Gotcha — makes sense. This theme runs through the Bible and always points us towards the relationships among God’s people and how we work together to accomplish God’s work (threefold cords; iron sharpens iron; let no man put asunder…).
David’s sermon resonated with my current reading of the book of Judges — a personal refresher course as we’re going through Judges in ManUp this year. The judges were raised up by God individually for their unique contributions to Israel’s deliverance. Individual talents in support of God’s work, though in this case not necessarily because of their spiritual talents. Samson, as you’ll recall, wasn’t exactly the model of purity and devotedness. But God used him in an unforgettable way.
“Well,” you might say, “there isn’t anything particularly unique or exceptional me. After all, our church already has strong leadership, and things run smoothly, and people are happy, and there are always snacks between the 9 and 11 services, especially those lemon square things, and Clay is scoring home runs with the youth groupies, and Louise and the Colored-Shirt Squad (CSS) are creating little spiritual Jedi knight kids downstairs on Sundays, and everything seems to go as it is supposed to, because the real people with spiritual gifts or the real people that God has called to do important things are doing it. I can help, but only in the routine, run-of-the-mill, Eli Manning (vice Peyton Manning) kind of way. I can do some simple tasks, but it would be kind of crazy to say I have been called to a special purpose. Plus, we don’t really need deliverers these days in a world knitted together by the fiber optic synapses of the Internet. If we ever need to be warned about something, it is only a click or two away. For example, here is a very important warning that hadn’t occurred to me until very recently:”
You might say these things. I only venture that guess because I’ve heard myself say these things.
Here’s the response I’m becoming more comfortable with these days — God sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to reside in and among Christians and has been doing so ever since, providing a well spring of God’s own motivation and encouragement to each of us. We get to tap into constantly. The Holy Spirit gifts Christians individually, and God expects us to use those gifts to build the body of Christ and to play our part in the creation-fall-redemption-restoration narrative. Even if you don’t know how to describe your gift (some of the judges weren’t even aware of their own role in God’s plan), the fact is that if you’ve been given the capability to bring vitality to God’s people. He will use you, and you will be enriched.
To the men especially: let’s be known for our contributions to our church family (see an AMAZING sermon on your church family from Nov 9 here. No dead beat dads or brothers at Restoration Arlington. ManUp this year is all about men connecting to God’s plan of deliverance. You will contribute in powerful and irreplaceable ways as you commit to your family. Come to ManUp tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov 11 at 7pm, and be inspired about the role you are called to play.
PS — seriously, taking a selfie is ultra risky. No more selfies. #bullshateselfies.
And there you have it. No selfies. No bull. See you at ManUp.