Strengths and Gifts

1 Corinthians 12: 4-11

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

To me this passage says we all have gifts…and I don’t just mean anyone reading, but all of us everywhere.  We are poets, authors, doctors, lawyers, mathematicians, estheticians, comedians, scientists, chefs, surveyors, entertainers, and so so so much more.  We  have these amazing and beautiful gifts.  And when they are lived into, they come with this amazing and beautiful joy.  There is this sense of becoming who we were always meant to be, like there is this grand plan for our lives that we have finally tapped into.  We finally get it, and everything we see in our past seems to lead to it, and everything in our future seems to run through it.

Gallup, who formulated a popular strengths finder survey, seems to agree.  Their findings in creating this assessment point to the reality that there is not just one, or a set, of desirable gifts, but the most fruitful of us live into our natural gifts.  What is in the deepest part of ourselves.  Like its a part of who we are created to be, and we live into that.

This passage also says that these gifts all come from the same source.  Its that creative force that continues to form us into who we are and who we were always meant to be.  It’s that energy that continues to evolve us and this world in these slow, nurturing ways that allow us to discover our true self and our true world.  Calling all of creation forward into an intended state…or what the bible calls the Kingdom of Heaven…cause that’s not loaded.

Okay so it is totally loaded for us.  It’s loaded with black and white understandings of heaven and hell and who is blessed to one and condemned to the other.  It’s loaded with misunderstandings about  some future time and place that requires some kind of golden ticket or magic words.  But that’s not what Jesus says.

He says the Kingdom is among us just waiting to be tapped into.  It’s like this blind spot we just can’t quite look into or believe, but we get whiffs of none the less.  And we are most likely to experience it living into our natural strengths as Gallup would call them or gifts as the scriptures would call them.

From my perspective, this is one of those glorious places where findings that were arrived at by totally secular means, and the scriptures seem to align so seamlessly.  It is places like this that ground my theology in the idea that all truths eventually point to the same ultimate truth.  Whether they are truths discovered in our physical selves, like the way we build muscle being a great metaphor for the way we build our minds or spirits, or if they are found in our cerebral selves, how we sort through things and prioritize what’s important just as our bodies do with nutrients, or the way our hearts are lifted through experiences…the point is we are highly integrated beings.

We know this right?  We know that when we are not physically healthy it effects our mind and spirit and what we do…and all of the others as well.  Because we are deeply integrated and all of our gifts all that we are is from the same source.  The source that is so gently beckoning us into joy and bliss and the Kingdom.

Now I’m not here to tell you its all rainbows and unicorns…but I do believe there are ways to live more fully into who we are meant to be and in doing so we have access to joy and the source of all joy both individually and collectively.