Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I don't know if you've been following the news on ESPN, but I know my in-laws (Die Hard Packer Fans) would have some thoughts about one story in particular. Brett Favre, the quarterback who spent 16 of his 18 record-breaking seasons throwing passes for the Green Bay Packers has decided to come out of retirement...AGAIN. As if anyone had a doubt. But here's the kicker: he'll be playing his 19th season for the rival Minnesota Vikings.
But playing for another team isn't the issue for me. This is the third season that Brett has had at least one NFL team held hostage. Management and coaches try do make decisions for the upcoming season, and yet, there's this little voice on their shoulder saying, "But what if Brett wants to play." And what about the other players. Training camp begins. Rookies and other newcomers are working hard to earn a spot. Players who haven't played together try to develop a sense of chemistry and become a team. Blood, sweat and tears are all fruits of the labor of NFL training camp. And then, Brett decides he's ready. He's ready to take his valuable talents to a team already beginning to function as a team. Why? Because he's that good? Because the Vikings are better with him? Because it's all about Brett?
I'll let you draw your own conclusions. I'm just thankful the Church doesn't (or at least shouldn't) work like that.
Today's New Testament reading in the Treasury of Daily Prayer was from 1 Corinthians 12:1-13, where St. Paul teaches about Spiritual Gifts.
(Now, I could write an entire post (or many posts) about the difference between talents and Spiritual gifts. Suffice it to say for now, that all people have talents, but only Christians have Spiritual gifts. Why? Because they're given by the Holy Spirit.)
There are a variety of gifts (v. 4), many different ways to serve (v. 5), a host of different activities possible (v. 6), but each gift is given by the same Spirit, service opportunities are provided by the same Lord, and every possible activity is from the same God. God's gifts are as varied as His children. But the point is this: Spiritual gifts are not given for me to use for myself. They are given for the sake of the whole.
"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ" (v. 12).
The Minnesota Vikings may be better with Brett Favre tacking snaps, there's no doubting his talents. But they may be torn apart by the media circus, the individual attention, and a host of other factors.
When we use our Spiritual gifts for the sake of the building up of those around us, truly, the Church can't lose.
Seeking to serve. Amen.