This past Sunday was the first sunday of my third year here in Lamont. I tried to start this next year off by first taking a look back. I highlighted some of the ways that we have seen God at work in the past and drew attention to some of the areas where we have room for improvement. If you are interested you can listen to the sermon by clicking on the deeply committed sermons link on the right, or by clicking here.
The Scripture passage I focused on was Romans 12:3-8. This part of the passage really grabbed my attention:
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.
I believe that the best is yet to come for Lamont United Methodist Church and for the United Methodist Church in general if we take this passage seriously. To me, it says that we are not called to some generic form of Christianity where faithfulness will look the same for every one of us. Instead, it says that God has created each of us with a unique combination of gifts and grace. Each one of us can make a contribution to the church that no one else can match.
That means that we have a freedom to exercise our gifts with passion and enthusiasm. I think it also means that we don’t have to spend a lot of time pretending to have gifts that we don’t have. It also means that if we refuse to exercise our gifts within the church, the church will be missing a key contribution, the church will not be all that God is calling it to be.
Since Sunday, I have found myself wondering what the UMC itself would look like if we were all faithful in exercising the gifts that have been given to us. I sometimes wonder if we value certain gifts above others in the way things play out within the institutional UMC, and as a result we unintentionally encourage members and pastors to try to have these “ideal” gifts, rather than simply using the gifts that actually have been given to them, and trusting that God has given those gifts for a reason.