Sermon at 1st Presbyterian Church Lockhart
†††††††††† In the beginning of this Season of Ordinary Time, we see the Godís gifts, and the simple gifts of Godís people that are used in bringing about Godís Purpose.† We see a God who loves and cares for his people.† We see the different gifts that are shown to us in the readings from the text this morning.
Our unique talents are a gift from God.† One of the gifts that I have seen was that of speaking in tongues.† Iím not talking of the kind of tongues spoken of in
I Corinthians.† As a supervisor, the job in the wafer fab was to integrate operators into a highly technical production processes.† You had to take the long technical terms and processes and explain them in simple English.† †You really didnít need a degree in Electrical Engineering to understand the processes we were running.† It could be broken down into examples that made it easy to understand the reasons why it was important to follow the procedures, of handling material and equipment in the process.† Once the people understood why the behaviors were important, it was easier for them to understand and learn - how important their step was in the entire process.† They could use their regular gifts to contribute in a highly technical and extremely complicated system.† It was using their gifts and being most effective.† That is how it is, using our Gifts for Godís call on our lives.†† The miracles that are done are simple and still have the greatest impact upon those around us.††
I† Gifts -
The idea of Godís gift is seen in both Isaiah, and our reading from Psalm 36 from the Old Testament.† Isaiah describes God changing the name of Zion to Hef zi ba (which means - my delight is in her).† This name is the symbolic name for Jerusalem.† In giving Zion a new name, God takes possession and responsibility for Zion.† Godís possession comes under Godís control and protection.† It is Godís gift to the people of Zion.† We also see Godís gift of love and caring for this people in Psalm 36.† Godís love is simple in such a complex way.† It reaches to the heavens, it is faithful, it is priceless, and in it, we find refuge in Godís protection.†† It is the simplest of gifts, but has the greatest of impacts.
II† Simple gifts and service but the same Spirit that God can use.
†††††††††† There are a lot of personality tests that are out there that can be used to determine our gifts and personal strengths.† There are tests like, the Cooter Preference Test, the Meyers-Brigs behavioral test, and Spiritual Gifts tests that we use in the church.
I Corinthians we see the description of the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, powers, prophesy, speaking in tongues, and interpreting tongues.† All of these are the work of one Spirit given to individuals as He determines.† Our individual gifts are a gift
from God.† They are simple gifts, like helping and service.
†††††††††† How many times have you been to a dinner at a nice restaurant?† Did you ever notice the people who set the plates and silverware on the tables, or pour the ice and water, or fold the napkins.† Have you noticed when everything is done how easily it was done and looks so perfect?† It was all done with simple gifts of service.† It was all done with hands that cared to make the banquet perfect.
†III† The Text John 2:1-11 Jesus living into his gifts.
We see in Gospel of John, Mary pushing Jesus to use his spiritual gifts.† Like any good Jewish mother, she knows how to turn a guilt screw to get their son to do things.† Jesus pushes back and says ďItís not my time yetĒ.† But, Mary, like any mom, ignores him and turns to the servants and tells them ďDo what ever he tells you.Ē† It forces Jesus into a ďno winĒ position.† He complies and does what his ĎMomí wants him to do.† He is using his gifts in Godís call, even if the call began with Mom.†
This is not a large demonstration of his power in front of a crowd.† It is a demonstration of a simple act of saving a wedding banquet from becoming a disappointment and embarrassment to the family giving the banquet.† The only ones who know about this are the servants who have to haul the 120 gallons of water. The head MateríD of the event is not even aware what Jesus has done.† It is the simple use of his gifts, done in the background of this grand wedding feast; only seen, by the servants, and us the readers.† It shows us how God truly cares about even the small events and simple things that affect our lives, and He uses simple gifts to show His love for his people.†††
IV† So, what are these Gifts all about?Ē
God takes these simple ordinary gifts that we have and uses them to fulfill His Purpose.† We see that implemented, not in great acts of power by Jesus, but in acts of teaching, service, and leading His disciples by example.†† ††† †
We as the children of God, are called to use the gifts that God has given us in simple ordinary ways to demonstrate His presence.† The simple act of listening to someone in the hospital, giving someone a drink of water, encouraging someone to go to school, or to finish a course, are all simple acts of our gifts that we use every day.† Sometimes we do not realize the power within us that can change the lives of so many people around us.†
We can see, in this sanctuary, the history of this congregation using it gifts for Godís call.† The gifts of service, are written on the plaques and stained glass windows, remembering those who served in the two World Wars.† The gifts of teaching are also written on the plaques and in the windows remembering those who taught and lead this congregation. (like Whitmore, the McCurdyís, and Joekel) The men and women who served as elders, pastors, choir members, womenís circle are all living examples of people using their gifts for Godís call in their lives.
Elanore Rosevelt† - ďYesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift, that is why we call it the present.Ē
††††††††††††††††††††† The Gift†††††††
†††††††††† We have this gift of life
†††††††††† And passed it on
†††††††††† And now our children
†††††††††† Sing our song.
†††††††††† We've seen our hour in the ring.
†††††††††† We've paused to sing
†††††††††† Our hymn of life
†††††††††† Making all of our best
†††††††††† An offering to those we've blessed
†††††††††† Wrapped in our love
†††††††††† And gently passed it on.
Today is a simple gift.† It is the one of the gifts that God has given us to make a difference.† Today is also a time to use our gifts Ė be it in teaching, in service, or in leading-† It is a time to use our gifts for Godís purposes.
In the name ofÖ.
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ö.The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit.† A-men.