In honor of the Laity Sunday and celebrating the Laity in our church, the following is excerpts from an article by Sandy Jackson, featured in The Interpreter, about the importance of spiritual gifts and the laity that use them.
"Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ." – I Peter 4:10-11
Transforming the world through our gifts sounds like a grand, over the top, ideal, doesn't it? What gifts could accomplish this major feat? Once again we think about the vows we make when we become members of The United Methodist Church. We promise to uphold the Church by our prayers, our presence, our GIFTS, our service and our witness.
I believe that typically when we talk about "gifts" in this context it is translated into giving – money. And it is true that the church needs these monetary gifts. Giving our tithes to the church is evidence of our commitment to the ongoing work of the church. It is also evidence that we take our membership, or more importantly, our discipleship seriously.
However, I would like you to think about upholding the church with another type of gift. Think about the value of your spiritual gifts. What wonderful and powerful things might happen if each member used their spiritual gifts – not only in the church but in their homes, workplaces, schools and communities?
Spiritual gifts are God-given abilities to serve the church effectively. Ephesians 4 says that certain gifts were given: "To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ." Chapter 12 of I Corinthians tells about the varieties of gifts and that each gift is equally important within the Body of Christ.
God has gifted each of us differently and has given the exact gifts that are needed in each congregation. If there is something lacking in your congregation perhaps someone is not using their God given gifts.
Every believer needs to understand spiritual gifts, discover them, and use them to build up the Body of Christ. "For we are what (God) has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life." — Ephesians 2:10 NRSV
What transformation would occur in your congregation and in the world if each member gave their gifts of money and spirit?