Five Areas of Call - God Given Gifts
As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen. - 1 Peter 4:10-11
For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation, he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans, 12:4-8
We believe that we are members of St. Paul’s community because this is where the Lord brought us. And because God brought us here, he must have a reason he wants us to be here. Therefore, we must consider how we use our presence to the honor of God. We all have a part to play in the work of St. Paul’s church.
God given gifts are not necessarily limited to the spiritual gifts that were identified by St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians (wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, etc.). God given gifts include all our abilities, and those gifts serve the church in two vocations. One vocation is the use of spiritual gifts for the ministry of the Word. The other vocation is the use of spiritual gifts to prepare people to render service of a practical nature.
The abilities that each of us possess become spiritual gifts when used in the service of God. There is an expectation that each of us will give of ourselves to the furthering of God’s kingdom. This requires that we discern God’s call regarding our gifts and how we are to use them.
We believe that just because someone is good at something, that person is not required to employ that ability in the service of the church. There also needs to be a sense of call. For example, if someone has a fine singing voice, that person is not obligated to join the choir. However, if that person senses a call to join the choir, then praise God because that person’s gift has been lifted up to enrich the worship of us all. If that person does not sense a call to sing in the choir, but instead senses a call to volunteer at Boys and Girls Club, praise God that his/her grace is being extended into the community.
Being a pastoral sized congregation, the use of everyone’s spiritual gifts is significant. We must be boldly stepping forward for our own spiritual well being and because our rector can’t do this work for us. We must ask ourselves about our responsibility to this congregation and how we as individuals can serve God through it. Going beyond that, we as a congregation need to be continuously discerning our call for using our collective gifts in the service of God to the wider community.
What does a community look like that identifies, lifts up, and puts into action the gifts of its members?