“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”
-1 Corinthians 12:18
On Friday night, my husband had an insurance co-worker and friend call to warn him of a severe thunderstorm heading toward our neighborhood in Sumter. We didn’t want to think about a storm though because we were enjoying our Memorial Day weekend out of town. We had plans to get together with Greg’s men’s group the next day and we were focused on getting hamburger patties made and putting gas in the boat for our fun day at the lake. And fun it was! We even had boiled peanuts! I mean really, how much better could it be than that! The previous night’s storm wasn’t going to dampen our day!
On Sunday after our lake day we headed back to Sumter to drop the dogs off at home before church. You guessed it; the sight wasn’t pretty. Twenty-seven years ago I planted a Bradford pear tree in honor of my son’s birth. Half of that special tree now lay sprawled across our driveway. Green leaves were everywhere like a crop duster had opened up and dropped them with the intention of blanketing the house and yard. The patio table lay on its side not too far from the sad looking dismembered tomato plants I had babied. To top it off, our neighbor humorously shouted out from his window, “Merry Christmas, Greg!” as we stood in the yard in disbelief. Gee, thanks! Well, I guess we will be taking our friend’s “heads up” a little more seriously next time!
Greg and I got back in the car without saying a lot to each other. That’s because we knew what the other was thinking without even saying it! Greg was thinking work is going to be busy on Tuesday with all the claims coming in. I was thinking that my favorite symbol of Preston’s birth was gone and my poor infant tomatoes were a thing of the past. Greg … realistic, me … emotional, that’s par for the course!
As we made it to church, the first person we saw was a precious guy that was with us at the lake on Saturday. Greg casually mentioned the yard condition we had driven up on and Talmadge jumped on it, “My son and I will come to help. He doesn’t work tonight so we will be there.” Although Greg tried to let him know he wasn’t expected in any way to do that, Talmadge was persistent and we were blessed that he was! He and his son, Thomas, showed up after church as promised. From the moment he offered, it was clear “helps” is Talmadge’s spiritual gift. It might be on a Wednesday or a Sunday that the “help” occurs. It might be bringing beans to lake day or removing a downed tree. Whatever the need, Talmadge sees it and makes every effort to help meet that need. I even venture to guess his dominant love language might be “acts of service” and I’ve only known him in a limited capacity for a very short time. Our friend has been gifted greatly by his Father in Heaven and I can most assuredly say you have too!
You might get hives if you have to go do physical labor in someone’s yard, but you may be drawn to pray for someone who is in a seemingly hopeless situation in life. You may not have the finances to help a team go to Honduras to provide healthcare for those who so desperately need it but you would be great at serving on the administrative committee at Sumter Pregnancy Center. I believe all of us have God-given gifts when it comes to how we show God’s love to others. Your gift will probably not be the same as your spouse’s or your best friend’s but your gift is uniquely you. The body needs all parts to function. It needs the hands just as much as it needs the head. Which part are you?
You can find a spiritual gift inventory on-line or there’s a book by Bruce Bugbee called Network: The Right People in the Right Places for the Right Reasons. Knowing this bit of information about yourself and about your family members and friends is life-changing. It helps you seek out the things you are great at and eliminate areas maybe you aren’t as great in. It can also help you guide your children in volunteerism and steer them to things they are passionate about. To me, it has made me realize I shouldn’t just volunteer for everything but I should volunteer for things I am gifted in and am designed by God to do. Service opportunities now excite me instead of drain me. They leave me fulfilled in knowing that I am truly benefitting that particular area.
If your gift is “helps” like Talmadge’s … I applaud you, my husband applauds you and my Bradford pear tree applauds you! But if it is not, there’s another gift out there that is waiting for you to claim it and use it during someone else’s storm in life.
Thanks Talmadge and Thomas for being Christ’s hands and feet today! Those calluses on your hands truly show who resides in your heart!
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