A few weeks ago, I took one of those “spiritual gift inventories.” Are you familiar with those? There are all different types, but the end goal is always to help us figure out the various ways God’s Spirit gets worked into our lives. It all sounds so church-y doesn’t it? I know. I’m sorry.
H says if heaven was the only goal in this whole live-your-life-for-Jesus thing, then we’d be scooped right up (out? over? in?) there the minute we decided, “OK. I’m in. I believe. I want to let Jesus be the boss of me.” But, as far as I can tell, that’s not what happens. We say “Yes” to Jesus and the bills keep coming, the family members still want to eat three times a day, the toilet still backs up, and the police officer still pulls us over for driving too fast. Alas. With all of this every day life stuff going on, it’s easy to wonder, “What’s the point?”
The more we think about it and pray about it and read about it in the bible, the more convinced we might be that God has something for us to do right here where we are. On earth, and not in heaven. “But how?” we wonder. “What do I have to offer?”
Enter…(you guessed it!)…the spiritual gifts! And, here’s where I tell you this post is not about spiritual gifts. I know. I apologize. Again.
I took that spiritual gifts inventory and got my results and then, at the very end of the information they sent me, was this chart:
Now, just to be clear, this chart is not scientifically conclusive or anything (case in point: we can’t be sure how many people were surveyed in the “laity” category). I think the best way to describe it is as a guide of sorts. So, there’s that. But, the thing I noticed when I read this chart is that “Giving” ranks pretty low on this chart — for pastors, and for the rest of us. Them. Us.
“Whew!” I thought when I first read the chart. I’ve been keenly aware, for quite a few years, that giving is not my gift. I don’t have a good relationship with money. When it comes to cash, I am selfish and stingy and selfish. And, when I read that chart, I thought, “I’m just like everyone else! Yay!” And then, “Booo…” Because, it can’t be a good thing that the Body of Christ doesn’t like to give, can it? And also? I don’t know if I believe it.
Because I’ve been wearing dresses for the past nine days, and I asked if you’d help a sister out, in the hope that we might help a few children of God out of human trafficking and sex slavery, and you are doing it! We are doing it! To those of you who have given — whatever amount — I’m humbled and grateful to you. Just $210 left to reach my $1,000 goal, and that’s a good thing.
But my goal is modest, let’s be honest. And that’s because I was scared. I was afraid the chart is right, and that people in the Body of Christ don’t like to give.
I once read an interview in which a waiter said, when he sees a group of people at his table, bowing their heads to pray before their meal, he can be pretty certain he won’t be getting a tip. I was afraid we’re more like that than we care to admit.
But, lately, I’ve been watching, and we have built a school and a house, practically overnight! And, right here, we are helping to rescue children and women and men from human trafficking and someone will look them in the eyes and tell them God is Love and that’s what Love is. Really. And in our own communities, we will bow our heads or not, and, either way, we’ll give thanks in prayers and generous tips and also words of encouragement and conversation. We will cheer for each other and we will weep with each other and we will lean back quietly against the walls until they silently give way and fall into the darkness where they belong.
For God so loved the world, that he gave…