We all have gifts. Some of the are physical gifts like the ability to throw a baseball at 90 mph, and some of them are mental, like curing some rare illness. But what of our spiritual gifts? The greatest sports figures spend hours honing their craft so they can be the best at whatever it is. Some of us spend hours on the golf course working on our drive or on out putt, some of us need to spend more time doing that! The great thinkers of the world, and yes they still exists, spend hours upon hours just thinking about things and trying to find out how things work. So again I ask, what of our spiritual gifts?
In his first Epistle, St. Peter writes, “… you also, living stones, are being built upon a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” He is speaking about all of us; we are all priests and take part in the Royal Priesthood of Jesus Christ. Our job is to offer up spiritual sacrifices that will become acceptable to God. We all have a part to play in the ministry of the Church the task before us is to find what the role is.
In today’s Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul writes that, “He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” He lays out the roles in the Church, for leaders in the Church, and for the regular folk as well. He goes on to say that this is done for the, “equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Just as St. Peter pointed out, so now St. Paul points out.
On the day of our Chrismation, when the Holy spirit came upon us, and confirmed our call to be a child of God, we were given gifts. We all have them we just need to find what they are. This can be a most difficult task, to discern what gifts we have and what our place should be in the Church. We have to actively seek out what these gifts are. We seek these gifts through prayer and direction from those who have come before us. We are charged with “equipping the saints” and in order to do that we need to be equipped ourselves.
In the Church we often speak of the three T’s; Time, Talent, and Treasure, well we often speak of the treasure one more than the others, and that is something we need to change. We cannot focus all of our time and energy on money, we cannot continue to build larger barns to store our treasure in if we have no one to share it with!
We have not often spoken about the Biblical concept of tithing. This is the concept that Jesus often speaks of, and the Apostles take it up from Him, where we are commanded to give 10 percent, off the top, of our time, talent, and treasure to God. Again this gets skewed toward the treasure part and we forget about the others.
Time, time is something that most people do not seem to have enough of. In the olden days it seemed there was much more time to things. The founders of this Church, for example, would work long hard days and then come there and build the Church. They would spend hours here physically building the Church after working very physically demanding jobs. When the Church was open, they would be here. Many of you have told me stories of being dragged here for some service or another. They made time for what was important.
Are there less hours in the day today then there were when the founders were here? Did the calendar somehow change and make less than 24 hours in the day or 365 days in the year? There must be since we seem to run out of time. They concentrated on what was important.
A recent survey showed that people who attend church on a regular basis spend less than one percent of their time engaged in some sort of spiritual matters. I am not just talking about coming to church, but on any spiritual matters. In the course of the seven days of the week, there are 168 hours. If we come to church each Sunday, then we spend approximately 2 of those 168 hours in Church. Now I am not that great at math but that would seem like less than ten percent. We spend more time eating then we do on spiritual matters!
Are you giving 10 percent of your time to God?
Talent, talent can be looked at the same way as time. What talents do you have and are you giving ten percent of them to God? Not just paying them lip service, but really and truly giving them to God. The basic talent that all Christians have is the ability to pray, this ties in with time by the way. If we spent ten percent of the day in prayer imagine what this world, and our lives, would be like. Each week I put names in the bulletin of people who are on our prayer list. Not a day goes by that I do not get asked to pray for someone, either by one of you, a friend of mine, or on the email. Part of our daily prayer time, and I hope we all have a daily prayer time, should be spent praying for people by name. Praying for people is something we call can do, it requires no special skills at all. But what of other talents that we might have, are we using them to build the kingdom of God?
Are you giving 10 percent of your talent to God?
Treasure, we have spoken of this many times before. We all give, what we can, out of what we have, to God through the Church. The reality is we need money to keep the doors open and it is not getting any cheaper to do so. But we cannot simply focus on this aspect of the 3 T’s we need a balance approach to our spiritual lives. Remember, it is not “well I give 10% of my income to the church so I am good.” No, we are required to give ten percent of the 3 T’s not just one or two but all three.
The goal of our spiritual life is to enable us to uncover and unlock our potential. On the day of our Chrismation we were placed on the road that should enable us to do just that, discover our potential and then chart the course to unlock that and put it into action. What good is something if we never use it for what it is intended to be used for?
God has given us all gifts, God has given us all talents, and God has given us all treasure. The time has come that we all unlock the potential that we all have and put it to use for the building of the kingdom. The founders left us a physical home of brick and mortar, now we have to build the spiritual home or prayer and worship.