1 Corinthians 12:12-31
Last week we talked about using our Spiritual gifts. Today, we are still talking about our Spiritual gifts and the difference between our gifts and our talents. Talents are available to everyone. Christians and unbelievers. Every person is created with certain abilities that can be of benefit to other people. However, it is believers in Jesus who are said to have spiritual gifts that benefit other believers and help in outreach to unbelievers.
Talents are essential to the church. How much would our services lack without music? How plain would our worship spaces be without those with a talent for decorating? Our church meals wouldn’t be enjoyable without our members who have a talent for cooking or the ability to get out of the house early enough to stop by somewhere and pick something up to bring. And Lord bless those that use their talent to watch over the finances of the church. We’d be lost without them.
But Spiritual gifts are different. They may come through when we use a talent and they may go hand-in-hand with a talent, but where a talent may touch someone while you are using it, when you put your Spiritual gift to work it can touch someone for a lifetime.
God has given us each a gift, but if the gifts aren’t used in the service of God and His church, they are useless. And it’s not just that those that don’t use their gift waste something God has given them, they also affect the strength, health, and vitality of the body. Think about that for a second, using Paul’s analogy of the parts of your physical body. If a part of your body is sick, diseased, or infected, what does that do to the rest of your body? If a skier or mountain climber gets frostbite, doctors will amputate the frost-bitten part because if they don’t, the gangrene will spread and take over the whole body. The body will eventually die. The body of Christ, the church, is like that. If members are not working together with the gifts given by God, the church will die.
The difference between the Corinthian churches and many of our churches today is that the Corinthian believers were all claiming their gifts loudly and proudly. Like kids on a playground, they were arguing over whose was the best. In many of our churches today, no one wants to claim a gift, much less use it.
God blessed the Corinthians believers with an abundance of gifts to reach the pagans in Corinth. But, because of their misunderstanding, misuse, and abuse of their gifts, the church never came close to launching the ministry God intended.
God has blessed believers today with an abundance of gifts so that we can reach the lost around us. But because we don’t care enough about God to find out our gifts and how to use them, many churches are dying.
There’s so much talk these days about the decline of Christianity and the Church. And it’s true talk. However, many of the reasons given for the statistics are either wrong or don’t go deep enough. In our communion liturgy, we, say “we have failed to be an obedient church,” but that doesn’t go deep enough. We have failed to be an obedient church because we have failed to be obedient people!
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Luke’s reason for writing his letter. He wrote in Luke 1:3that he wanted people to have an orderly account of Jesus’ life. The fact that Luke wanted an “orderly” account may explain why he is the only writer to include the story that we are looking at today. However, there is also the thought that Luke was writing primarily to the Greeks and wanted them to have details about Jesus’ life that would personalize him and make him real. There’s a possibility that Luke included this to emphasize that Joseph and Mary raised Jesus following all of the requirements of the Law. It could be any of these reasons, none of these reasons, or a combination of them and others. We don’t really know.
What we do know is that Mary and Joseph lost Jesus.
Have you seen the pictures captioned “you had one job?” The picture might show a pack of hamburger buns in a wrapper that says “hotdog buns.” Across the top of the image, it’ll say, “you had one job.” If memes had existed when Jesus was twelve, I am sure that there would have been one of Mary looking for Jesus captioned, “you had one job!”
I love this service. In the hustle and bustle of the season it’s good to take a bit and remember the reason that we celebrate. It’s all about Jesus! We can get so sad about the people that are missing from our lives and things we are currently facing that it can be hard to focus on what we have in the here and now. Right now because of Jesus, we know that any separations are temporary and someday, the holes in our hearts will heal and we’ll be worshipping God with those we have lost.
If you are hurting, if you are worrying, if the weight of the world is on your shoulders, know that Jesus understands. Take these 36 minutes and lay your burdens down at Jesus’ feet. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to scream, scream. Give your hurts and worry to Jesus and let him comfort you.
Copyright 2019 Druid Hills United Methodist Church Meridian, Mississippi