One of the most precious gifts people have to offer each other is our differentness. Despite my many attempts to achieve perfection, I continue to learn how lacking I am.
Once upon a time I was a pastor. I am no longer a pastor, but am now an artist – an artist of words, paint, food, people. Once upon a time my best friend was an accountant. She is no longer an accountant, but is now a pastor. I cannot think of two people with farther interests than my artist self and my accountant friend. Yet, strangely, we work well.
I am scattered and creative. I bounce from painting my kitchen to running a 5K to raising backyard chickens. All because it struck me as a good idea one day so I went and did it. At the same time, I struggle mightily to do the ordinary things like paying bills on time or cleaning my home on a regular schedule. Routines elude me. But I will be the first to take a knife skills class or dye my hair platinum blonde just because I never have before.
My friend is organized and predictable. She pays all of her bills on time, and even has money in a savings account (I mean, who does that?). She does not try something new unless she is statistically likely to succeed. She on time for everything and never misses an appointment.
But both of us were really good pastors. I was great at trying new things, teaching the middle schoolers (who doesn’t want to climb through a makeshift obstacle course?!), and writing my own curriculum. She is great at managing people and budgets, and cleaning up the messy things and loose ends in the organizational structure.
The reason we work well together and are both great at ministry is because we both have a deep love for God and God’s people. Massively different gifts, but at the core huge hearts for God’s work. One thing I know for sure is that this world would be a far worse place without her in it. If not for our differences, this world would be a very boring and ineffective place. Thank God people have different gifts!
Narrative Lectionary Text: Ephesians 4:1-16
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling,one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.Therefore it is said,
‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
he gave gifts to his people.’
(When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.