Monday, August 6, 2012

Sharing in joy & sorrow

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (NCV) There are different kinds of gifts, but they are all from the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve but the same Lord to serve. And there are different ways that God works through people but the same God. God works in all of us in everything we do. Something from the Spirit can be seen in each person, for the common good. The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak with wisdom, and the same Spirit gives another the ability to speak with knowledge. The same Spirit gives faith to one person. And, to another, that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. The Spirit gives to another person the power to do miracles, to another the ability to prophesy. And he gives to another the ability to know the difference between good and evil spirits. The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak in different kinds of languages and to another the ability to interpret those languages. One Spirit, the same Spirit, does all these things, and the Spirit decides what to give each person.

A few years back, I was reading through 1 Corinthians 12 in my quiet time. Having taken a few classes at my church on spiritual gifts I'm sad to say I breezed right through the chapter. Have you ever done that? "Skimmed over" scripture because you have read it or learned about it dozens of times? I know I sure have. But something was different this time. I felt like I had to go back and read the chapter again.  “Lord what am I missing here?” I prayed. “Why am I drawing a blank?” I continued. 

I decided to pull out another Bible and read the same chapter in another version. The Bible I chose had a corresponding devotional…it was there I knew what I was missing. In this devotional an observation was made regarding the uniqueness of each individual Christian's gifting and skill within the body of Christ. The writer went on to say "The body of Christ can reach unity by appreciating the unique abilities in others and empathizing with each other in times of joy and sorrow."  

Spiritual gifts are those gifts given by the Holy Spirit to Christians for the purpose of building the church up. It is the Holy Spirit that decides what gift to give and when to give them. The verses above tell us that something from the Spirit can be seen in each person for the common good. 

I have been witness to this many times throughout my life. Just recently I was able to see this truth personally. I was able to take part in a women’s retreat put on by another church. At that time in my life, I was walking through one of the deepest, darkest, driest valleys I had ever walked through. There was a woman at the retreat who was such an encouragement to me. You could tell just by looking at her that she had a relationship with the Lord like no other. She practically glowed as she sang praises during our time of praise and worship. What a gentle, sweet spirit I observed in her; and what a blessing she was to everyone that weekend.

A few days ago, I received a phone call from a dear friend of mine that accompanied me to the retreat. She told me the shocking news of this woman’s husband and his sudden death. He had been rushed to the hospital and within 30 minutes went home to be with the Lord. When I heard this my heart broke for this woman. I knew her for a day and a half (a mere drop on the canvas of my life) but I cried as if I had known her and her husband for years. I immediately started praying for her and her family and those that would be supporting her through this crisis in her life. I shared in her sorrow, just as she had shared in mine during the retreat. Even though our paths crossed only once, we are sisters in Christ for eternity.

Is there anyone in your life that needs encouraging today? If so, you can show someone the grace of God by sharing in their sorrow or joy.

Acts 20:35; Romans 15:1; Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 13:3

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