Monday, March 20
Growing up Lutheran, I attended many potluck luncheons and always loved the variety of foods on the table. Deviled eggs? Never at home, but there were always a few dozen at a church potluck. Green beans with a crunch ... what was that tasty topping? Apple pie AND cake? Whenever can you get more than one dessert at a meal? I was always amazed at the talent of the cooks and their ability to organize such a wonderful meal to share. Only rarely were there any two dishes alike.
Imagine my surprise as an adult, living on my own for the first time, finding out that no one really organized the potluck food. Everyone just brought whatever they wanted! How does it not just end up being deviled eggs and apple pie? It was a mystery to me for a long time.
Eventually, I would wander from my usual favorites to try new dishes that had never been on the table at home. Asian salads, German foods (instead of Swedish), and endless varieties of bean salads became familiar. I never knew what I was missing, and my list of favorite foods continued to expand. I had my first Caesar salad when I was about 28 (with real anchovies!), and it has been one of my favorites ever since.
Just as there are a variety of foods on the potluck table, so also are there a variety of spiritual gifts for Godís people to use in doing Godís work on earth. First Corinthians 12 talks about spiritual gifts. Some have the gift of wisdom, some have the gift of faith, and some have other gifts inspired by the same Spirit. All are part of the body of Christ. Some use their gifts to be teachers; others are healers, helpers or administrators.
Part of the mystery is that it all happens so naturally. We arenít assigned certain gifts by other people, nor do we choose them ourselves; rather they are inspired by the Spirit as the Spirit wills. Gifts become evident over time as we nurture them, but they are fundamentally with us from the beginning. It remains a mystery, though, how it all turns out so well.
Being stewards of such a mystery means we need to recognize that these differences in personal preferences and talents are part of Godís handiwork. As the body is made of many parts, so the body of Christ is made of many personalities. We need to treasure the differences that make the whole better than the sum of its parts. Thatís not ďnew math,Ē but one of the enduring mysteries of Godís creation.
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