Living the Lectionary – The Gifts Are In the People

Living the Lectionary is a weekly devotional tool intended to give you ideas for living out the Word of God that we encounter on Sundays in worship. 

ReGIFTED – The Gifts are In the People

About this coming Sunday: 10th Sunday After Pentecost – The Gifts Are In the People – God’s gifts are always found in people – even His Word and Sacrament need people to read and administer them. This Sunday, we consider how we are those gifts for other people in our lives.  Law: We tend to see God’s intervention as an almost impersonal force, and reject the notion that He could ever be doing something through our human lives. But this is not the case, and our rejection is sinful. Gospel: God provides for others through our work, and provides for us through the work of others whom He sends to us, the greatest of which is Jesus Christ.

About this Season and Series: 

Sundays After Pentecost/”ReGIFTED” – The long season of Pentecost affords us an opportunity to look into continuous readings from certain books – this year, we have a semi-continuous reading of Ephesians that serves as the basis of the ReGIFTED series.

Reflecting on the Readings (readings are linked to text on ESVbible.com)

Exodus 16:2-15 – What is it? – The word “manna” is simply a transliteration of the Hebrew question, “what is it?” This question leads us to ask ourselves “what it is” about ourselves that God is giving to others through His provision of Christians in their lives. “What is it?” that you bring to those around you through the gifting of God?

Psalm 145:10-21– The Eyes of All Look – God’s kindness is shown through His provision of all things, including the provision of His people, so that the world might have what it needs. What do “the eyes of all” look to God for? security? community? food? How might you provide some of this as God’s chosen instrument?

Ephesians 4:1-16 – He Gave . . . – Paul reminds the Ephesians that God has given them people: apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers and shepherds, so that the Body of Christ might be built up. How does your identity or action lead toward greater unity or function of the Body of Christ?

John 6:22-35 – Being the Bread of Life  – Jesus tells the crowd that He is the Bread of Life, or more intricately, that He is the Will of God – and that the Will of God is the Bread of Life. What is God’s will? How can that be the bread of life for others around you?

GIFTED Considerations

Gift of God: In order to give ourselves as gifts, it is often helpful to take inventory of how we have been gifted by God – to see what gifts He has given us in our persons that we can give away. How has God gifted you?

Giving Ourselves As Gifts: Instead of wanting to give of ourselves, we tend to either want to horde our gifts or make them costly to others. How might you give of yourself more freely this week?

Celebrating Gifts Given: Often our first impression to a gift is to try to give back to the person, or to deny the gift. Watch for a moment like this, and instead of giving back (scratch-my-back-i’ll-scratch-yours style) or denying the gift, make a point to simply receive with grace and celebration.

Living the Lectionary Ideas

Learn: Some newer theologians (Mike Breen, Alan Hirsch, Michael Frost, etc) have divided up the gifts in Ephesians 4 and tried to develop an inventory that helps Christians understand their gifting. Take this or any other inventory (like StrengthsFinder 2.0) to arrive at some clarity about your personal gifting.

Do: Make a menu of “services offered”, things that you can do for other people that you believe could have value for them. Share it, or simply keep it to yourself as a reminder.

Live: Live with the simple attitude that you are here to serve others instead of yourself.

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