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"For the Common Good"- the Use of Spiritual Gifts

Over the Christmas period I watched a programme documenting “Sting's” return to Newcastle and his north-east roots. The culmination was a concert in Durham Cathedral. For this Sting had drawn together musicians and singers from various backgrounds including rock, classical and folk.

The one thing that struck me was that each musician, though immensely gifted in his or her own field, chose to contribute their talent to the one event- sometimes even holding back or underplaying their individual potential. The result was a memorable concert in a beautiful setting.

It seemed to me that this was a good image of what church should be. Each of us have God-given talents and gifts and between us these cover a wide range of ministry, whether used in worship or mission. When we bring these gifts together and seek to produce the best combined effort that we can, then God is glorified and others are blessed.

I was reminded of this recently in the New Testament reading from 1 Corinthians which says that spiritual gifts are given “for the common good”. They are not for the benefit of the ones to whom they are entrusted, but should be offered for the building up of the whole church of Christ.

At the service last September when I was licensed as a Reader, one particular question seemed to resonate with me:

Will you promote unity, peace and love in the Church and in the world, and especially among those whom you serve?”, to which we, the candidates, responded: “By the grace of God, I will”.

It is very easy to promote disunity and discord in the various areas of our lives, not least through the use of our abilities; at home and work; at Church and in the world. The presence of Christ within each Christian through the power of the Holy Spirit should produce something very different- unity, peace and love.

Whilst we wait for the appointment of our new Vicar, many people, not least the Church Wardens and clergy have shouldered additional responsibilities for which we are all grateful. During this time and on into the future let us all be willing to bring our particular gifts to light in the spirit of serving each other “for the common good”.

Like the concert in Durham Cathedral, the combined effort will exceed all our expectations.

Anne Linington ©

Anne is married to Russell an agricultural engineer and lives on the beautiful Isle of Wight, England, UK. Anne works with adults with learning difficulties and enjoys writing, particularly Christian poetry. She has recently finished a three-year training as a Lay Reader (lay minister) in the Church of England.

 

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