Do you remember the treasures that used to be buried in boxes of cereal? I remember waiting anxiously for the little toys buried deep in the boxes of Trix and Cocoa Puffs and Frosted Flakes. At our house growing up, we weren't allowed to dump out the box to get to the toy, or go digging in the box. We had to wait until the little treasure came out naturally, and that was usually a long wait because the toys almost always sank to the bottom. So there was always much anticipation. The secret decoder ring, or tiny Superman, or other toy usually wasn't all it was cracked up to be, but that didn't make me anticipate it any less. There was secret treasure buried inside that box and I could hardly wait to see it.
In I Corinthians 12, Paul talks about a different kind of treasure, which is not hidden in cereal boxes, but in us - in you and me. The treasure buried deep within each of us is what Paul calls spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are gifts given to all Christians through the Holy Spirit. There are many different kinds of gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit (I Corinthians 12:4). Our spiritual gifts are treasures God gives to us which enrich both our lives and the lives of others. If you do not yet know your spiritual gift(s), then you have a treasure buried inside just waiting to come out.
The Bible tells us a number of things about spiritual gifts including:
Each and every Christian has at least one spiritual gift.
Each gift is given for the common good, not just for our individual enjoyment.
There are many different kinds of gifts, but they all come from God's spirit.
It is God who determines what gift(s) each individual receives.
We are meant not to just have our gifts, but to use them.
Some of the many kinds of spiritual gifts God might give us would include teaching, serving, hospitality, healing, craftsmanship, encouraging others, giving, working miracles, prayer, administration, evangelism, preaching, and there are many others.
The thing that all of these gifts have in common is that they are a treasure. They are a treasure to the person who has them, because when we use our spiritual gifts to God and others, we experience a special blessing and/or passion. The time we spend using our gifts for others become gifts for us, and they are a treasure to the Body of Christ - the Christian community - because when we all use the gifts God has given us, we support one another and the ministry God gives us in our community.
Do you know your treasure? My prayer is that we all learn more about the hidden treasures within us and in so learning and then applying them, we experience more of God's joy.
Pastor Diann O'Bryant is the minister of Gilman United Methodist Church, 312 Gilman St., Marietta. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Janet Gossett at 376-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.