BY REV. LON LEWIS
SPIRIT LAKE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
"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. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good."
-- 1Corinthians 12:4-7 (NRSV)
Have you ever been to a jewelry store to pick out a diamond ring, or necklace, or pendant or whatever?
One thing you will notice right away is that a good jeweler will never take out a beautiful diamond ring and just lay it on the glass counter for you to look at. No, the jeweler will have a black cloth of some kind and he or she will take that diamond ring and set it right on that black cloth. The reason is obvious -- if the jeweler placed the ring on a glass counter, the beauty disappears amidst the shiny glass. But, on that black cloth, the diamond ring will be gorgeous and show up vividly and dramatically. The diamonds will stand out in a wonderful way.
I thought about that as I pondered the words of the Apostle Paul to the Christians at Corinth, who were having a difficult time understanding that God gives members of the Body of Christ special, beautiful gifts of the Spirit such as wisdom, knowledge, faith, prophesy, healing, discernment and many others and blesses these gifts.
All of these varied gifts are valuable and important to God and to the Body of Christ and to the world. The same God inspires them all, differently for each person -- each gift valuable and wonderful and beautiful and precious in its own way.
Each of us, and the gifts God gives us, are like beautiful diamond rings spread over a black, velvet cloth and shimmering so powerfully -- precious, wonderful, unique.
Let us celebrate the varied gifts that God gives to each of us, and use them all to build up the Body of Christ and to reach out in concern and service to the world. Remember, God has our all our names written on the palm of his hand and every one of us is unique and special and gifted, chosen by God to shine and reflect his love wherever we go!