Summary: Every Christian has a gift - and the Church needs all these gifts if it is going to function
Sermon: The Church is not a “one man show”
As I was thinking about the sermon for today, I was struck by the thought that the Church is not a “one man show”
God calls us to be a community – and the Church has no passengers.
As our Bishops often remind us – our baptism is a calling to ministry
– we just have to find out what our ministry IS!
No one person – not even the Vicar – has all the gifts needed to run the Church.
We need each other.
Our New Testament reading from 1 Corinthian 12 tells us that God gives us spiritual gifts
St Paul writes:
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.
5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
It is more than just “your natural abilities.
I came across a good definition of spiritual gifts from a Christian leader Bruce Bugbee, founder and president of Network Ministries, who said
“Spiritual gifts are divine abilities distributed by the Holy Spirit to every believer according to God’s design and grace for the common good of the body of Christ”
(“What You Do Best in the Body of Christ,” Bruce Bugbee, page 52).
I am sure if I asked you - if you would like to fulfil your God given ministry – you would say yes.
Yet so few of us seem to find our God given ministry
It seems to me that many Christians are like the Caterpillar.
Someone once said of the caterpillar:
"The caterpillar is the most confused creature which roams the planet, because undoubtedly stamped in his soul is the call to fly."
We want to fly – yet we still find ourselves on the ground.
Story: Did you know that Caterpillars must go through four stages before their metamorphosis into a butterfly is complete.
1. They begin as eggs.
2. Next they hatch as caterpillars.
3. Then they go through a stage where they eat, and eat, and eat some more and eventually, they become a chrysalis.
4. And then when the transformation is complete, they can finally emerge as a beautiful butterfly.
And as the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us:
"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." (Eccl 3:1)
(My thanks to Ajai Prakash for the Caterpillar story in his sermon “Discovering God’s Will )
Although we may have a longing to fly, we may not yet be ready
So how do we get ready
I think there are tow important ingredients
Ingredient No 1. Read your Bible and pray
God has given us the Bible so that we can grow as Christians
St Paul tells us that
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. (2 Tim 3:16)
We need to take on board what the Bible teaches if God is going to use us in ministry
And Prayer is the means by which we listen and speak to the Holy Spirit.
I suggest prayer works more effectively if we start by listening to God.
2. Ingredient No. 2 Fellowship
Story: A man from the city of Chicago decided to travel to Wisconsin to go duck hunting.
He shot and killed a bird, but it fell into a farmer’s field on the other side of the fence.
As the hunter climbed over the fence, the dairy farmer drove up on his tractor and asked what was going on.
The hunter said, “I shot a duck and I’m retrieving it.”
The old farmer replied, “This is my property and you’re not coming over here!”
Well, this made the hunter mad and so he said,
“If you don’t let me come over the fence I’ll call my lawyer and I’ll sue you.”
The farmer smiled and said, “Apparently you don’t know how we do things up here.
We settle disagreements with the Wisconsin three-kick rule.
I’ll kick you three times, and then you kick me three times, and so on, back and forth, until someone gives up.”