Buechner: Spiritual Gifts
The “place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
Frederick Buechner, originally published in Wishful Thinking. Frederick Buechner Quote of the Day, www.frederickbuechner.com
As usual, Frederick Buechner gives us the best advice about how to find our ministry in perhaps his most quoted phrase. We are given gifts from the Spirit for our ministry for the doing of God’s work. As with “the varieties of our gifts” mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12, there are a varieties of spiritual gifts inventories. I was reminded at a recent presentation by The Rev Dr. Kate Alexander that we must not just limit what we think our spiritual gifts might be to those gifts described in biblical times and not just think that every spiritual gift may seem “spiritual.” She gave the example of proofing the Sunday bulletin as a means of furthering the work of God and being an important ministry that is performed by people with a very detailed unique ministry.
We are to remember that the gifts are to further the work of God, not necessarily our work or our agenda or our goals.
Besides several inventories, material from the Stephen Ministry by Stephen Haugk, leads us through other clues to our spiritual gifts. The gifts we see in our most admired person may be ours. The gift we use to bring about our most fulfilling life event may be our gift. The actions of Jesus we most admire may be our gift. I also learned from Lloyd Edwards in his book, Discerning Your Spiritual Gifts, that significant gifts may come out of our woundedness. For example, those in recovery best stay in recovery by helping others find freedom from addictions. Those who have experienced the death of a significant person are often the ones who can later best help heal others who are grieving.
Parker Palmer’s, Let Your Life Speak, is another classic book about where and how God leads us into the servant ministry using our spiritual gifts..
My experience is I think I am using my gift when I am energized by the ministry in which I am involved. I put energy in and more comes out. The tried and true biblical fruit of the spirit can also be an indicator of when we are using our spiritual gifts. Galatians 5 tells us we will feel and know “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” when we are connected to or guided by the Spirit.
3 Opportunities in next 2 weeks to purchase a signed copy of A Daily Spiritual Rx for Lent and Easter
Wordsworth Books, Little Rock, Saturday March 2, 1-3 pm
St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Little Rock, Narthex after 8 and 10:30 services on March 3 and March 10
Proceeds from this book go for Hurricane Relief in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast