Posts Tagged gifts

You Are Graced for Greatness – Mary Lee Talbot -Chautauqua Daily

When Nelson Mandela walked out of prison after 27 years, he knew that he had

to leave the bitterness behind or he would still be in prison,” said the Rev. Cynthia

Hale. “The Father of the Nation [of South Africa] had to resist the urge of revenge. He needed to provide an example

of forgiveness.”

Hale preached at the morning worship service at 9:15 a.m. Friday. Her sermon title was “Work Your Grace” and the

scripture text was Romans 12:3-12. “When Mtibaa transitioned, President Barack Obama said, ‘Now he belongs to the ages.’ David Cameron, prime

minister of Great Britain, said, ‘A great light has gone out of the world.’ Mandela is remembered for being the embodiment

of grace, of operating with uncommon grace. That image led people to believe he fell from the sky,” she said.

“But everyone of us is graced by God. You may say, ‘Not me; I could never measure up,’ but you don’t know who you

are. God created you by design; just as Mandela was unique, so are you. All of us on earth are different, as our fingerprints

attest, but that is not what makes each of us different — it is God’s workmanship in you.”

Hale said that God graces each person with giftedness. No two people have the same gifts.

“Your gifts were tailor-made for you and you are graced for greatness,” she said.

In Romans, Paul spoke with authority about gifts, she said. He had written to the Corinthians five years earlier to

tell them that each person’s gifts are needed for the community to be whole.

“Paul wanted to make sure that the Romans did not have an inflated idea of the self, that they were not over intoxicated

with their own gifts,” Hale said. “Through faith comes the power of discernment to determine the nature and

extent of individual power and grace. “Paul also speaks to those who think less of themselves,”

she continued. “All are gifted; there is no big ‘I’ or little ‘you’ in the faith community. Don’t think that the community is

doing just fine without you.” Hale used the word “grace” to talk about gifts because

Christians are saved by grace and gifted by grace. “We don’t deserve what God has done in Christ. We are

gifted in a way that we could not imagine, we could not earn, buy, borrow or steal,” she said. “God is the giver of

every good gift and distributes gifts to us for a purpose.” Paul used the analogy of the body to describe how the

gifts of one work with the gifts of all. Each member of the body of Christ belongs to all the others and they work together

for the common good, “whether they like one another or not,” Hale said. When people are baptized into one body

they are connected by God’s spirit. “People come together from individual places and become

part of the community to serve one another and to serve the world,” she said. “We need one another and we are

essential to the success of every individual and the whole. That is God’s purpose in making us different and distinct so

we are equipped to carry out God’s mission and service.” Spiritual gifts are similar to natural gifts but the Holy

Spirit supersizes them, Hale said. “You may be a good speaker or fine singer, or you minister

to people in a way that changes their lives, you may have the tech skills or work among the least, but you are

set to change the world when the Holy Spirit energizes and empowers graces and turns them from ordinary to extraordinary,”

she said. She told the congregation that “we equip each other, we build each other up, because when we first came to Christ

we needed help. Pastors are not the only ones to whip — I mean equip — people into shape. Each person has the responsibility

to pick up another. “We are given different gifts to provide balance, to help the body mature. No one should have too many posts in the

community. Look at your neighbor and say, ‘I hope she is not talking about you.’ It is the nature of any community that

not everyone is using their gifts. Then people start to say ‘let the young people do it; I am retired and tired.’ My grandfather,

at 90, used to say, ‘Don’t rust out, wear yourself out.’ ” Hale said that church communities would never be all

that God would have them be unless everyone was working. “There is no unemployment among God’s servants. That

would be wasted opportunity. If you are graced, just do it,” Hale said. “Do it with enthusiasm, do it with joy. Work your

grace. Serve the needs of others. Be the ministers of God’s “Your gifting looks good on you, but it is not an ornament

to be worn — it is an instrument to be used for God’s glory.”

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Rude Words – Tammy Abee Blom –

Blog for BWIM – May 13, 2013

Always, I am surprised when someone speaks rudely. Most of the time, people speak either kindly, or at least neutrally. Rude catches me off guard.

Before cell phones, I was driving to visit a parishioner who lived way out in the country. I had only driven the main road through the area where she lived, so after several turns, I was lost. I started looking for a place to ask for directions and saw a gas station. There were several men gathered around the front door and I assumed they were from the area and would know how to get me back to the main road. As soon as I asked, “How do I get back to 74?” one of the men gave a quick series of directions involving big trees, large rocks, lefts and rights. Frantically I dug in my purse for a note pad on which to write. He finished his spat of directions and looked blankly at me. Now with notepad in hand, I asked, “I didn’t get all that. Could you tell me again?” He tilted his head and asked, “What do you need a map? I already told you.” I saw the other men were amused by my predicament so I made a hasty exit. Once in the car, I couldn’t shake my surprise at what had happened. I had not expected the rude words.

Recently, I was working on a ministry project with someone I have only worked with once or twice. Together, we laid out the plan for the project and then, I noted a discrepancy and commented, “Why don’t we re-think this part?” With head down, she snapped, “I don’t think so.” I thought maybe I could clarify, so I made my suggestion again. She looked me in the eye and said, “This is the way I do it.” Her tone and finality were clear.  I thought we were working together and I was there to offer ideas. I didn’t know she had already decided how it was going to be done and my opinion was unnecessary. I was surprised by her rude words.

I fretted about this encounter for several days. I wondered how I missed the clues that my role was not what was stated.  I wondered what I could have done differently. Then I remembered the sage advice of my field education supervisor at MercerMedicalCenter. He told me, “When you enter a hospital room, offer your gifts. If the person refuses, or clearly doesn’t want your gifts, then wrap them back up and take them to the next room.” He taught me that not everyone can receive the gifts you offer, and when presented with rejection, it is not a reflection of your gifts. Rejection is a reflection of the other person’s inability in this time and place to receive your gifts. I had forgotten his advice and had fretted over my gifts being rejected. Even though I was hurt by the rude words, I was glad to be reminded that my gifts fit in some places and not others, and that is okay.

I imagine rude words will always surprise me, but I hope to remember the words are not reflections of me but reflections of the person who offered them.

Note: I first read this on and asked the author for permission to reprint it here.

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Thankful Thursday – Pat and Mervyn Gibson

On this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful for the gifts that Pat and Mervyn Gibson bring to my life. Pat is a Virginian and a graduate of Mary Washington College. Merv is from Arkansas and a graduate of the University of Arkansas.  Pat retired as Dean of the Learning Center at Trident Technical College and Merv as an engineer at Lockheed. They met at Church in Virginia. Both sing in the choir at First Baptist Church. Both have served on the diaconate at FBC and Merv has been chair. Pat was the first woman elected as a deacon in the late 60s. She also taught English as a second language to Chinese adults. Merv has chaired the personnel committee. He is a master photographer and always does photography for the Hamrick Lectureship where he is also treasurer. The Baptist Courier has published several of his pictures. He writes procedures for several companies as a consultant. Pat has a love for all things Russian that started when she was involved in a mission project as a young girl. She is an avid gardener. She is chair of the remodeling sub-committee at FBC. Pat and Merv are a team. They share their gifts willingly. On this Thankful Thursday, I am glad that Pat and Merv Gibson are part of my life. The picture was taken by Merv. Eric Metaxas is signing a book to Pat. Walker Maginnis is in background.

Thankful Thursday is a day set aside to recognize the importance of someone special to our lives and to let him or her know of our gratitude. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. You will be glad that you did.

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Memorial Day 2011 – Thank You

            I have been thinking about all those wonderful people who contributed to my life, but have now joined that great band of wittinesses. It is true that we are a part of all that we have met. I believe that God brings people into our lives when we most need them and that every person is a gift.

Mother – Enthusiasm, Love

Dad – Faith, Integrity, Work Ethic

Liz – Acceptance, Love, Understanding, Friendship

Pop Gossett – Laughter

Grandma Gossett – Thrift

Uncle Jim Gossett – Fun

Uncle Jack Carnell – Adventure

Joan Frei Gilliland – Courage

Rev. Roy Gowan – Freedom

Uncle Calvin Carnell – Identity

Aunt Gertrude West – Encouragement

Mrs. Elma McGill – Love, Thoughtfulness

Dr. Waldo Braden – Professionalism, Integrity

Dr. T. Earle Johnson – Professionalism, Compassion

Dr. George Gunn – Scholarship

Dr. Ollie Backus – Introspection

Dr. John Hamrick – Worship, Humility

David Redd – Reverence

Janet Whitmore Gilliland – Directness

Danny Gwinn – Hope

John Carney – Friendship

Dr. Harold Powell – Humility

Sam Brissie – Motivation

Sara Lowrey – Creativity, Appreciation

Jimmy Wiggs – Loyalty

Dr. Ernest Frei – Perspective

Winifred Frei – Perseverance

Bennett Murray – Trust

Gil Pooser – Wholeness

Aunt Alice Carnell Willis – Sacrifice

Great Uncle Mitch Easler – Family

Great Aunt Ruth Easler – Contentment, Charm

Mrs. Lois Landford – Devoutness

Mrs. Virginia Spurlock – Forthrightness

Clara Lawson – kindness

Francis Pearson – Confidence, Love of History

Eugenia Coleman – Writing

DeRossett Myers – Character, Integrity

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