Daily Devotions
 
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

by Sharon Downing

Scripture abounds with words about God-given talents, and they all say that those talents are to be used for the common good.  My personal favorite is I Peter 4:10.  Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.”

Others are:

I Cor. 12 – Paul names some spiritual gifts but says that all gifts come from God and for a single purpose:  the common good.

Ps. 139:13  --  The psalmist tells us that God, in giving us talents and gifts, has a divine purpose for our lives.  Sometimes we discover our talents accidentally or, often, slowly over time.  Sometimes learned abilities overlap with innate natural talents, the ability to learn being a gift in itself!

Romans 1:11 --  Paul says, “I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you --- or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith…"

I grew up in a large church with an excellent music program that inspired me to pursue a degree in church music, and when I joined Good Shepherd in 1998, it was known that, by then, I’d had a fair amount of experience as a church musician.  At about that same time, Pastor Pete Rudowski was encouraging Good Shepherd members to discern their spiritual gifts and how to use them to benefit the Body of Christ at Good Shepherd.  

Well, it just so happened that the 11 A.M. choir needed an accompanist, and Pastor Pete asked if I’d be willing to volunteer.  When he heard me practicing one evening later on, he asked if I’d considered this to be one of my spiritual gifts.  Actually, I had.  The quality of music in the church was, and still is, all-important to me, and I’ve long felt that, yes, I had a God-given talent and a desire to use it in the church.  I see myself, though, as one of those examples of some natural talent overlapping with learned ability.  Pastor Pete helped me find my particular niche in the church while, at the same time, offering me the opportunity to share that ability. 

Although I finally retired from the job of accompanying the choir and being a substitute organist, I found other ways to share.  In fact, back in 1998, Dave and Mary Naylor knew that my “day job” was in UC’s College-Conservatory of Music Library, and they drafted me to put some of my librarian’s skills to work in the church’s library, something I still enjoy doing today.  Also in 1998, when we were being encouraged to discover our spiritual gifts, one of mine appeared to be hospitality, and I see my involvement with the altar guild as relative to that assessment.

All in all, I’m grateful to have experienced these avenues for sharing and know that, in doing so, I am, in turn, blessed.

The American Baptist pastor Rick Warren teaches SHAPE:  Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experience.  He asks, “What is your SHAPE?  How has God called you to use it to serve others?  How have you been obedient?  How have you seen God use your good use of your time, energy, or influence to bless you?”

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