The Gifts of the Spirit


St. Peter's Basilica

The Holy Spirit, depicted as a descending dove in St. Peter’s Basilica, The Vatican, Rome

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NRSV: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.”

When we think of sharing the Gospel we usually think of active, if not professional, ministry. Evangelists, missionaries, your favorite flavor of clergy, praise bands – they all work to proclaim the good news.

But, what of the rest of us? What if we never don vestments, never lead “Our God is an Awesome God,” and never distribute Bible tracts in some village in Africa (or Oklahoma)? How are we to spread the good news?

In pondering that question I recalled a story my priest, Fr. John Toles, shared with me about the Benedictine monastery in Norcia, Italy. The monks there may never say a word to guests about Jesus Christ – they cannot mention him. Instead, they must preach of Christ and the Gospel in the peace of their lives, and in the love they share through every task of their day, no matter how profound or menial.

It is in this way we share the Gospel in our daily lives – by being the hands and feet of Christ, through the Spirit. We all have different gifts, talents and tasks that make up our days. Each thread, each varied gift, is indispensable in forming the rich tapestry of Christ’s living Word. Each has its purpose.

We fulfill that purpose when we remove ourselves, our fears and our worries, from our work. If we ask only that each task will serve God, then it will be so. Love for God, and for our neighbor, will emanate freely in the Spirit – the same Spirit that flows through us all – and speak the Gospel to those around us in ways that will outstrip the powers of speech.

Lord, grant us the humility and the passion to share your Word in all we do. Help us to live, and to put our hands to each task, only for your will. Amen.

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