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Our gifts guide us to God’s will

May 12, 2023

Daily Scripture

Romans 12:1-8

1 So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. 2 Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.
3 Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you. 4 We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. 5 In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. 6 We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. 7 If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. 8 If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Paul wanted his readers in Rome (as well as other communities—cf. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11) to offer themselves “as a living sacrifice,” and to “figure out what God’s will is.” That did not have to involve mystical rituals. Instead, Paul described a process of honestly assessing who you are, and what gifts and talents you have to use in God’s service. Then, he said, God’s will is that you mainly serve God and others in the ways God has gifted you to do!

  • In the ancient world, most people had made a sacrifice to some god. As a rule, that meant killing an animal on the right altar at the right temple or shrine. What shift in thinking and acting did Paul’s call to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice” point to? In what ways are you willing to put your life, yourself with your distinctive mix of gifts, “on the altar” to live daily for God?
  • Have you looked in what Paul called a “reasonable” way at what gifts and talents you have? There are many tools available to help you do that. (Resurrection plans to offer a 3-week “Serving from the Heart” spiritual gifts class this summer. Watch for news about the class schedule.) Which of your gifts and talents do you currently use in service to God or others? Are there any that are currently idle that you might start using in service?

Lord Jesus, “my” abilities and resources aren’t, in fact, just “mine” to hoard and use only for myself. Guide me to know how best to use them to bless others and build your kingdom. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe & his wife, Doris, first met in a Resurrection Single Adult Sunday School class in 1997 & were married in what is now the Student Center. They are empty nesters with 2 college-aged sons, Matthew & Jacob. Darren serves as a Couples Small Group co-leader & Men's Group Leader, while volunteering in a variety of other capacities at Resurrection.

Pondering today’s Scripture, I came across this excerpted “transcript” of an (imaginary) “Larry King Live” show from 1989:

[For our younger readers, Larry King hosted a nightly show on CNN from 1985-2010 that regularly attracted 1 million viewers.  Mr. King was also known to inexplicably ask celebrities questions about international affairs & ask political wonks about movies & entertainment. – Editor]

Caller: (inaudible)…and that’s why I think K-Mart & Sears are perfectly situated to dominate the future retail market.  People love to touch & test a product, not just look at a picture in some catalog.

King:  Thank you Bentonville, Arkansas. Wednesday Night we’ll ask Tom Cruise why he believes there will never be a sequel to his hit movie, “Top Gun.” Hello, Paducah, Kentucky. Do you have a question for our guest, Dr. Hunter Hed?

Paducah:  Yes, when did you get interested in Skills/Talent Consulting?

Hed, Hunter:  It started when I was a kid in Sunday school. My teacher was reading a passage from Paul’s letter to the Romans. Paul was telling his readers that each one of us is endowed with amazing gifts & talents that are of vital importance to the Kingdom of God. Now my career is spent helping match people’s gifts with the best possible slot, be it in the corporate world or as a volunteer.

King:  Well, Hunter how do you do that?

Hed, Hunter:  We start by asking questions to see what your interests might be, what skills you have, or helping you figure out your personality trait. For example, if someone liked to be around people, then we would seek out areas that interact with others. On the other hand, for someone who was a bit on the quiet side, we might find opportunities to be “behind the scenes” support.

King: Sounds good. Thursday night – we’ll have former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for the whole hour to talk about this year’s Oscar nominees. Hello Biloxi, Mississippi. Do you have a question for our Talent Guru, Dr. Hed?

Biloxi: Yes, if we do find we have a particular talent, should we solely focus on this gift for volunteering or careers?

Hed, Hunter: Not necessarily. It is important to identify our strengths & know what comes naturally to us. But it is also good to stretch ourselves & experiment with those skill sets that we perceive as being weak. As long as we recognize we are pushing ourselves & treat it as an adventure, then we can try something outside of our comfort zone and have some fun with it. That way if it doesn’t click for us, then no harm / no foul. But we may find skills we’ve never even tried before.

King:  Dr. Hed, you mentioned helping volunteers finding their niche. Why is this important?

Hed, Hunter: Several reasons. During economic upheaval like we are experiencing now, many of my clients find themselves in jobs that are merely means to an end. They don’t provide much fulfillment or satisfaction, but they are understandably reluctant to try to move to another field. Service opportunities can fill that void wonderfully. I have one client who dutifully does his work but is re-energized on the way home as he eagerly looks forward to his volunteering gig.
I have another client who is actively seeking work. In the meantime, she finds peace & fulfillment using her down time serving others in a variety of short-term volunteer roles.
Further, the key to successful volunteering for any of us is to find a match between our talents & our philanthropic work. When that match is working, it becomes an opportunity – not an obligation.

King: On Friday we chat with Jack Nicholson about his new Batman movie & why he thinks the comic book superhero genre in movies has run its course. We have time for one more caller. Hello Goodland, Kansas.

Goodland: Yes Larry. I’d love to do more through my church. How do we find out about our particular spiritual gifts & where we might be able to put them to use?

Hed, Hunter: Volunteering via church & church activities is an awesome way to quickly & easily assess your gifts. For example, a mission trip is the perfect opportunity to stretch yourself & try out some different skill-sets. Some churches even have brief classes to help you learn about yourself.

King: That concludes our evening with Dr. Hunter Hed, “talent scout for the every-man.” Join us tomorrow night. We’ll have a roundtable discussion featuring John Candy, Joe Montana, & Cher on how the fall of the Berlin Wall will influence the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.