Using God's Gifts To Their Fullest
In today’s epistle reading, St. Paul has some beautiful words which he offers to the Christians in Rome, but they are words just as relevant to us in the Church today. He is describing what life in the Church is like, and how God has given each and every member of the Church particular gifts which He wants His people to use in order to glorify Him. St. Paul writes, “We have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function… Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them” (Rom 12:4,6) to serve God’s holy church and to glorify His Name.
We all have gifts that God has given each one of us, St. Paul says, let us use them!
Think about the gifts you have been given by God in your life, and then think about how you are using these gifts to glorify God and His Church. Are you using your gifts and talents to glorify God?!?
This reading seems most appropriate today, on the Sunday following our biennial Archdiocesan Clergy-Laity Congress, which just finished in Boston this past week. The Clergy-Laity Congress gathers more than 1000 faithful clergy and lay leaders from around the country - parish council members, Philoptochos ladies, and others involved in the ministries of the Church. During five days, we shared, we learned from one another, we inspired one another, and we all tried to work together, offering whatever gifts we have, to help serve God’s church – at a national level, at a global level, as well as at the local level.
I loved seeing lawyers and CPAs, successful business people and other professionals from all walks of life who volunteer and dedicate their time and energy to serve God and His holy church. They serve on the Archdiocesan Council as well as on Metropolis level positions, together with their roles in their local parishes. Not only clergy, but plenty of lay men and women who have been blessed by God with particular gifts and talents, who then use these gifts and talents to bless others.
The beauty is that not everyone has the same gifts and talents, but when we all offer our gifts and talents to God for His glory, something beautiful happens. This is what the Church is – many different members coming together in love and humility, laying aside our egos and own agendas to discover what God wants, and then to do what God is calling us to do.
This example at the archdiocesan clergy laity level made me think about how the Church functions at the local level. Here at Saints Constantine and Helen, we all have different and specific gifts. Think for a moment about what your particular gifts may be, and then ask yourself, how do I use my own special gifts in a way that glorifies God? How do I use my own specific gifts to build up Christ’s holy Church here in Webster, but also to build up Christ’s holy Church around the world?
Do I have a beautiful voice, then do I offer up this gift to sing in the choir and glorify God through the worship of the Church? Is my gift in teaching? Then do I offer my gift to help teach in our Sunday School, or even to offer some specific adult education class? Is my gift in administration, and if so, how can I help the Church? Or is my gift in cooking, or baking? Or is my gift in encouraging others, building up others, supporting others? We all have some specific gifts and talents, but how are we using them within this Church family? Are we offering our time to share these gifts and talents with others?
We surely have a number of individuals who give much of their time and talents to the Church. And then we surely have others who may come to church often, but who only come to worship or share in the fellowship, but who don’t really get involved more deeply in the life of the Church. Today’s words from Holy Scripture should be a challenge to each one of us to reflect on what we do to offer our gifts back to God.
St. Paul says, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.”
We are blessed with 150+ stewards (families or individuals) who support our beautiful church. Our stewards represent a couple hundred people. Imagine all the gifts and talents we have in our Church Family. And then imagine, how we could glorify God and what we could accomplish, if we all offered our gifts to serve one another, and to serve God’s Church. Imagine how our Church would grow and offer a beautiful witness to the world outside, if we all offered our talents and gifts to the Church!
To be a follower of Jesus Christ means that our life is not our own, it is God’s. And thus, all that we have – our gifts and talents, our treasures and money, all we have is God’s gift to us. But what are we doing with these gifts from God and how are we using them to glorify HIS Name?
It is said that “Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with your talent is your gift back to God.”
Let me repeat that. “Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with your talent is your gift back to God.”
Let us offer not only our gifts and talents, but our entire life back to God to glorify His Name in this Church and in the world around us.
Facing Our Uncertain Future
Love Until It Hurts
Our Orthodox Faith
The Sacraments: The Meaning and Importance of Liturgical Life