I’ve been wanting to write about our Epistle lesson from last week. The cold that’s been trying to come on for over a week now finally slammed me yesterday evening–and I’m supposed to substitute this morning. So, I’m up for some quiet time to help myself acclimate to the day. It’s really helpful for me personally, and of course nothing is more beneficial than time in the Word. Here I go:
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[a] faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another.”
Hearing these verses left me with questions. First of all, are we to translate this in a general sense when it is said that “If a man’s gift is…”??? Are we using the masculine gender but we mean both men and women? Or, are we just talking about men?
If we are to understand that this applies to both men and women, then my next thought was, “I’ve been trying to do most of those things (and probably not well), but does God really want me to focus in on only one of them? If so, which of those is my gift?”
Obviously, the “if it is teaching, let him teach” section especially popped out at me since I have been analyzing how this year has gone and whether or not I should say that I would be willing to teach again next year. I wonder sometimes how great of a job I’m doing in this facet of teaching (piano). I wouldn’t say that I’m confident it’s a “gift”. It depends on how you would define the word for a particular situation. For instance, there apparently weren’t many candidates in our area who had the proper teaching credentials through our synod and were knowledgeable enough about piano to be able to teach it. So, maybe in light of that, one would say that you’d have to call my ability a gift–but certainly not compared to many others that I read about in my quarterly piano teacher’s newsletter!
Then there’s the regular classroom which I’m about to step into today. There are some areas in which I’m highly interested. I am really looking forward to teaching the 8th graders their literature lesson today! I’ve enjoyed studying this selection and brainstorming how I can enhance their understanding of it. Maybe, just maybe, I have gifts in that respect?
I’d love to be able to say that I have gifts in serving, encouraging, and contributing to the needs of others. I strive to be merciful, too.
So much of this section just sticks in my mind as I’m eager for a better understanding of it. “Keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer…bless and do not curse…Live in harmony with one another.”
I think, though, that lately I’m desperate for answers. I want to know exactly what God wants for me, but who can know the mind of God except himself? It is foolish of me to continue spending this time bemoaning that scripture doesn’t particularly address certain areas that apply to me. Sure, there are general statements such as what’s above that I find applicable to me, but I don’t know how to directly apply them. I just have to wake up and say, “Today I was asked to sub. I’m going to try very hard to do the job with energy despite the way my body feels. I’m going to encourage those students, be merciful to them…love them. When I get done and pick up my Little One, I’m going to do those same things for him. I’m also going to be compassionate to myself and take a rest this afternoon rather than scramble around to catch up on that which I couldn’t do this morning.” Then, I’m going to ask the Lord to bless my efforts, forgive me for weakly waivering, and praise Him for His goodness, and go about my duties.
That’s all I can do…and by God’s grace, it’s enough.