Go Build a House
I was driving our younger son, J, to school the other morning. We pass a small church on the way, which sits very close to the church's parsonage. In fact, both share a driveway. The following conversation occurred:
J: Mom, does that church own that house, or is it just that close?
Me: That church owns that house, I think. It's their parsonage.
J: What's a parsonage?
Me: Churches have the responsibility of providing a place for their ministers to live, so churches own parsonages as home for their pastors.
J: Does our church own a parsonage?
Me: Yes, two of them.
J? Are they for Joe and Carol, or Joe and Suzanne, or Carol and Suzanne?
Me: Joe and Carol.
J: Do churches build parsonages or do they buy them? (He's very curious, as you can tell)
Me: Either one, but I imagine most churches buy them. They don't build them.
J: Scott could build one.
He's right. Scott is a member of our church, and one of his talents is building -- I'm with J; I think Scott could build anything, including a house. Why do I know that? Why is it that J knows that? We know Scott's talents because he makes a gift of them to the church, on a regular basis. We know them, because we are witnesses of them in action.
There is a line from the movie National Treasure: Those who have the ability to take action, have the responsibility to take action.
I think that there are three sides to that coin, if a coin can have three sides.
- We have a responsibility to discern our gifts. Once we know what they are, we have the responsibility to use them for God's purposes. If we have the ability, we have the responsibility. I received a quote in my email yesterday, which said, "The identifying of gifts brings to the fore [a] large issue in our lives - the issue of commitment. Somehow if I name my gift and it is confirmed, I cannot "hang loose" in the same way. I would much rather be committed to God in the abstract than be committed to [God] at the point of my gifts. - Elizabeth O'Connor, from "Eighth Day of Creation"
- Once people in our churches discover their gifts, we need to be prepared to give them an outlet to share them. Great things happen when people share their gifts with the church. Don't only does the work of God move forward, but we are inspired by those people who give of themselves to do the same. We want to help, we want to share, because we see other people helping and sharing. Just like J, who sees everything, we are witnesses of God at work in the world.
- If God gives us a task, he will give us the ability. To do otherwise, is un-God-like. He will equip us as he needs us to be equipped. If you know that you are doing what God wants you to do, then don't worry; you have, or you will have, the gifts to make it happen. That's God's way!
Now, go build a house...or something!