All Are Called According to Their Gifts

By Evelyn Spence of Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA

…so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.  Romans 12:5–8

Our congregation has several programs devoted to youth ministry on weekdays after school. We offer the programs both to our membership and to the neighborhood.

One program, “The Community of Helping Hands,” is designed to reach grade-schoolers.

On their arrival at the church, the children get snacks and have some free time to play in the gym. Recently, the congregation took a symbolic “walk to Jerusalem” at Eastertide. The children received the choice of walking or running around the gym to reach a congregational goal and work on fitness.

To fulfill the “helping” part of the program, the children collect inexpensive food for the pantry. Last month they collected peanut butter and jelly. This month it is cereal. All the members of the congregation donate food.

After snacks and exercise the children have a lesson and discussion time. This week the lesson centered on Matthew 6. They considered “the lilies of the field,” how God cares for them, then segued into the idea that God loves all creatures as well as humankind. We should trust in God. Adults had the same lesson the previous Sunday during worship.

Next comes a craft time that connects with the scripture lesson. At 6:00 p.m., this group and the “Time for Teens” group join together to end the evening with a meal.

It takes the talents and gifts of many dedicated volunteers to run these programs, but they consider it part of their generous response.

Prayer for Peace:

Generous God, we marvel at your call to us and the gifts you give us to respond to that call. May we use our gifts to share your peace.

Spiritual Practice:

As you walk or drive today, notice the unlikely places where you see growth, life, color, beauty. Review your daily schedule. When and how do you attend to your spiritual center. How does beauty “color” new life growing from that center? How do you balance intimacy with God’s Spirit with active ministries of discipleship? Journal your need to learn “spirit-centered balance” that allows you to live as an oak of righteousness, a repairer of ruins in God’s world.

Peace Covenant:

Today, God, I will look for where there is need and respond with the gifts you have given for that purpose.

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