The Promises we make

The Promises we make

We’ve been reflecting on the promises we make when we join the church. Over the last two weeks we have reflected on offering our prayers and our presence. Today we come to the third thing we promise: our gifts. 

Particularly at this time of year, gifts bring to mind brightly wrapped packages, but of course we know that’s not what this means. Having just concluded our annual stewardship campaign, I think also of the gift of money. Certainly, we ask members of the church to support it financially and we appreciate all financial gifts, large and small.

Explore the Bible’s use of the word gifts, however, and it nearly always means spiritual gifts. The Apostle Paul says of these gifts, “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (I Corinthians 12:7) Everyone has a spiritual gift. A few of those gifts are public: preaching, teaching, for example. While Paul doesn’t name this, I think spiritual gifts include music performed for other people’s edification. He also mentions administration and some people serve as up-front leaders who get a lot of attention. 

Most gifts, I think, are less public, behind the scenes sorts of things: Paul talks about the discernment of spirits (we’re not talking bar tenders here!) or knowledge. I would add gifts like fixing things that break around the house or church, the gift of listening, the gift of prayer, the gift of faith. The majority of the time, these gifts are used in the background so that few people notice them. The public gifts depend on the behind the scenes gifts in order to function: my preaching means nothing if the sound system is not working.

These are the sorts of gifts we promise to give when we join the church. The church depends on the gifts each person brings; a few are public ones that get attention, and most are never named or recognized. 

Whether you make the coffee or wash the cups, pull weeds or mow the lawn, attend a committee meeting without saying much at it or pray for people when the prayer chain requests go out, you are fulfilling your promise to support the church with your gifts. Thank you!