My weekly devotions generally have four themes, based on University Lutheran’s annual focus: GIFTED. The first devotion is about what Gift of God we as a staff recognized in this week’s readings. The second devotion is about how we can Give Ourselves as Gifts based the Gift of God we recognized. The third devotion is about how we can Celebrate Gifts that have been Given, whether from God or from our fellow believers.
My final devotion, however, is always up in the air. Since there are only three parts to the annual focus, I call the last one GIFTED and think of it as a sum-up of the week. I almost never actually sum things up in it, because generally, the reading that I haven’t used yet is the one that fits least with the Gift of God.
However, this devotion is different. In this case, the word “gifted” actually works. Pastor Jay and I spent a good amount of time this morning (Wednesday) talking about spiritual gifts and what they mean in the life of the church as a whole. We are truly gifted by the Spirit, the Helper. And all of the gifts we’ve been given as a community lead us to the truth, as John says in chapter 16. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (verses 13-14).
One of the topics we discussed about spiritual gifts is who truly gets the glory. We established that, of course, God gets the glory – but we are still part of the equation. We are meant to decrease, not disappear. The Holy Spirit teaches us that. He glorifies Jesus, but that’s not to say that he is not present. He still has a function. He still has a purpose. He has a gift, just as we have a gift from Jesus Christ through him.
The Holy Spirit, our Helper, leads us to the truth that is Jesus. We are meant to be mini-Helpers, leading other people to the truth that is Jesus. We have been given gifts by the Spirit in order to fulfill our purpose. We are gifted. Let’s do something about it.