Discernment, Reflectionary, Sabbatical

Varieties of Gifts

People have been asking what I’m going to do next. I tell them, I’m taking a sabbatical until Easter. I’m taking the time to evaluate my gifts for ministry, the ways I grew over the past ten years, and the ways I seemed to diminish, too.

It’s more fun to think about the growing. It feels good to point to the things I did well, and it’s easy to get stuck in missing the doing of them. But I have to admit the painful things as well. I’m not actually ready to say what they are, because it’s possible I’m a little bit hard on myself, and also possible I’m not searching enough in my personal inventory.

One thing I’ve decided I’ll keep doing is reflecting on the lectionary, because that has applications for my life beyond the preparation of sermons. I’ve been living in the rhythm of the lectionary since I was a young mom and part of a group of women that started a Tuesday morning Bible Study at Woodfords Church in 1989. It seemed like a good choice since many of us were teaching Sunday School using The Whole People of God, a lectionary-based curriculum.

I’ve been in a lot of places and done a lot of things since then, but I’m still living that rhythm. I’m looking out a different window, but I’m still pondering the texts.

For instance:

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, 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.

All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11, NRSV)

What a daunting list! Miracle-working, healing, utterance of wisdom and knowledge (apparently not the same thing!), really it’s all too full of wonder. I could use a little discernment of spirits, so part of my plan is to talk to as many people as possible about, well, the possibilities.

What are my gifts? How can I be useful on behalf of Jesus Christ? I do trust one thing, which is this: God didn’t take me out of Maine and call me to Pennsylvania to do nothing whatsoever.

People have been asking what I’m going to do next. I tell them, I’m taking a sabbatical until Easter.

Really, a better answer is, God only knows.

Only God knows.


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