Aloha Friday Message – May 29, 2020 – Among the Gifted

2022AFC052920 – Among the Gifted

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    1 Corinthians 12:7-11 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit. It’s finally here! Pentecost is coming! What will we see? What manifestation of the presence of the Holy Spirit will we find in our lives? Will you, will I, will we recognize it? More importantly, will we know what to do with it? We know these manifestations go by a couple of familiar names in Scripture: the Gifts of the Spirit and the Fruit of the Spirit. There is some information on that at 1603AFC011516 – Gift Wrapped. Just for a refresher, though, let’s look at what’s included in those two titles.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit Fruit of the Holy Spirit
The Word of Knowledge Love
The Word of Wisdom Joy
The Gift of Prophecy Peace
The Gift of Faith Patience
The Gifts of Healings Kindness
The Working of Miracles Generosity
The Discerning of Spirits Faithfulness
Different Kinds of Tongues Gentleness
The Interpretation of Tongues Self control

In the Key Verse passage for today, the opening verse – verse 7 – is one that I see as the bow on the gift wrapping for these gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit. Let’s see it again:

    1 Corinthians 12:7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. We’re going to pick that apart a bit and see what comes of it.

First, the Apostle Paul says “to each.” Just who is included in that word “each?” in verses 2-3 of this chapter, he says “You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Let Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” This is addressed to Christians who have converted from their pagan beliefs in idols and professed their faith in Christ, were baptized, and confirmed in the Holy Spirit. These manifestations of the Spirit the Apostle Paul will soon to describe are established in members of the Church, The Body of Christ, the Bride of the Redeemer. By saying “each,” he describes the phenomenon as occurring to two or more individually, rather than “severally.” As a group of believers, they are all gifted by the Holy Spirit, but as individuals, they are each gifted with something of what is needed for the benefit of all.

Next we see “the manifestation” as the process for the actions of the Holy Spirit. A manifestation is a “showing forth.” One might immediately think of the Epiphany of Jesus, his “showing forth,” and that is a good reference. An epiphany is a manifestation of divinity; a manifestation – when not of a divinity – is a public revelation of human characteristics. But wait! Aren’t we talking about the Holy Spirit? How is that not divinity? It is not the divinity of the Holy Spirit that is made manifest. It is the manifestation of gifts and fruit from the Holy Spirit. This is a public showing-forth of what God, through the Holy Spirit, gives to Christians in the Church for the benefit of the Church. We can see these gifts when they are used in that context.

Next we read “of the Spirit.” Well, there’s nothing hidden or obscure about that! These are not manifestations of our actions. They are manifestations of the Spirit’s actions. This is one of those super-easy traps the Foe often uses to mess with our hearts and minds, and to wage war on the Church. “I’m such a Good Little Christian, because I can ….” It is not our “go-power” that establishes these gifts in our lives. They are gifts so they are not something from ourselves which we give to ourselves. It reminds me of that story about Granny who was knitting socks for her grandson Tom for his return to college in the fall. Tom’s sister, Anne, saw her knitting and asked what she was working on. “Oh, I’m knitting some warm socks for Tommy for when he goes back to school.” “But Granny, why are you knitting three socks?” “Oh! Tommy sent me a postcard in August at the end of his road-trip and told me he’d grown another foot over the summer.” Belovéd we can no more generate the gifts God sends to us for the Church than we can generate an additional appendage! It was the Spirit of God who moved across the waters in Genesis, and it is the Spirit of God who moves across us when we receive the Holy Spirit.

Finally we end, as the Apostle Paul did, with “for the common good.” That’s the clincher, as far as I’m concerned, because it says what we must do with those gifts. We must use them! Whenever we use those gifts, we not only give service to God and to the Church, but also give others around us a view of what the Holy Spirit does. In the Church, and in the world, our actions make the Holy Spirit manifest to others. We have gifts. We use those gifts (they are called “charisms” in the Church). Through our charismatic actions the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit is made known. In this way the Holy Spirit reveals himself to everyone both inside of and outside of the Church. And what is the coolest aspect of these gifts? The more we use them, the more we have of them!

We sometimes jokingly refer to things as “the gift that keeps on giving,” but that is exactly what happens with the Gifts and Fruit of the Holy Spirit. They continue to grow, to blossom like beautiful blossoms that yield rich and varied fruits for the nourishment and edification of EVERYONE. NO, it should be clear that this is most definitely NOT something we can do for ourselves by ourselves. What is (are) your gift(s)? If you can’t see them, how do you know they are there? You know by looking at the things you can do best. I’ve covered that earlier. Seriously, I ask you to look at Aloha Friday Message – July 20, 2012 – Whose gift is that? 1229AFC072012. I’m going to borrow a few words from that post. First, though, some supporting Scripture about these spectacular – yet common – gifts.

1 Corinthians 14:26 26 What should be done then, my friends? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.

Ephesians 4:11-13 11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

Romans 12:6-8We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

1 Corinthians 12:28 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues.

“None of those gifts or fruits sound like the kinds of things I can do.” If that is what you are thinking, then you may not have found a way to perceive and be aware of your gifts. When you think of the things you might be able to share with your faith community, begin by thinking about the things you are good at, the things for which you have developed a passion over the years. For example, I love scripture study, I’m comfortable in front of groups, I have the “gift of gab” like all my siblings, and all of these things come together in being a Lector – a person who reads passages of Scripture during the liturgy. Many churches of all descriptions have what I’d call on-going education for adults (a.k.a. “Sunday School”). In some cases though, it is increasingly difficult to get adults involved in these faith-based learning opportunities. The opportunity to grow in Faith is a very special gift because it is a gift that allows you to grow in service. When you look at your skill-set, what kinds of things do you enjoy most which might have a meaningful connection to your faith community?

When you offer to present your gifts for the betterment of the community, God blesses that offering by choosing for you something that you can do well and which you love to do. He stirs up in you the desire to serve his church effectively, and he brings glory to his church and to his provident care through the esteem given for the effective works accomplished.  Let’s look at just one of the Gifts of the Spirit for a moment to see how that might translate into an opportunity for stewardship. Let’s look at the first one in the list above – the Word of Knowledge. How is that expressed in your community?

Some of the activities that fit into this gift category are teaching, preaching, technology and science, leading and/or participating in educational conferences or retreats, writing, home-schooling, religious education, and working on the pastoral council. That is one Gift having many (and many more) applications.

Let’s look at one other gift – Intercessory Prayer. Paul was constantly interceding for the fledgling churches he and the other apostles had founded. This could be usefully expressed in your community through group intercessions (prayer meetings), healing-prayer team, prayer walking/driving, as a parent praying for children (yours and/or others), as part of a prayer chain or circle (like the MBN!), as a sponsor for baptism or confirmation or marriage or ordination, and as a community activist prayerfully leading your neighborhood to a better life.

It is important to understand that God does not limit us to seven Fruits and nine Gifts of the Spirit. There are dozens if not hundreds of Gifts, and the fruits we nurture through the use of our gifts also number much higher than nine.

Belovéd, as you can see, we are indeed among the Gifted, one of the Many and Great (↔ Music Link) whom God has chosen to receive Blessings and Graces in abundance. There are only requirements that come with these gifts:

  1. Honor the Giver by accepting the Gift
  2. Honor the Gift by sharing it with others.

Do just those two things, and you will enjoy a very Lovely Present from your Creator!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Please pray with us here at Share-a-Prayer.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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