Sometimes it can be tempting to belittle our gifts when we see someone with a gift we consider “bigger or better.” We’ll sigh in envy when we hear someone sing beautifully in church or speak eloquently at a conference or, say, speak in tongues while their head is on fire, as we saw in our Pentecost reading.
“And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:3-4).
Now, I’m not going to deny that the ability to speak in tongues while your head is on fire would be cool. I would certainly appreciate that as a wonderful gift of God. But that doesn’t mean that our own gifts should be belittled in deference to that! If we aren’t good speakers or singers, if we don’t have the gift of tongues or the ability to stay calm when our heads are on fire, then we have gifts that are all our own. For example, take the gift of teaching. This gift can be exhibited in front of large crowds, as it was with Peter on Pentecost. Or, alternatively, it can be exhibited one-on-one in the car on the way home from school as your child tells you about their day.
The Spirit gives many gifts, and all are important. All have value. We have all been changed by the Spirit in different ways. So don’t sigh in envy when you see someone with a “bigger or better” gift. Instead, thank God for the gifts he has given that person, and for the gifts he has given you, too.