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Minister’s column: We all have donations |

I know someone who is great at puzzles. I know someone else with perfect tone, who can accurately read a piece of music they see for the first time. I know others who can teach and explain very complex things in a way that even I can understand. We are all made differently. This shouldn’t surprise us. We each have our own unique gifts and skills, and whether they are an innate quality within us or come from a lot of practice (or both), we recognize that we are all unique and have a role to play in the community.

1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 makes a very large list of spiritual gifts – wisdom, knowledge, healing, miracles, faith, prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation, and discernment. Now, I don’t think that’s an exhaustive list, but it’s still impressive. They are complex words, but even if you don’t take the time to research them all or wrestle with what they mean, there are some great truths to be found in this passage. First of all, we recognize that all of these gifts are on the same level – the Holy Spirit gives them as gifts, not as wages. Among the spiritual gifts, none of them is elevated as the most or the least important. These are all manifestations of the Spirit, that is, ways in which the Holy Spirit is made concrete or tangible among us in community.

We can also see, both through our own experiences and this passage, that each person is individually gifted. My gifts are not your gifts. Your gifts are not the same as your friends, partner or neighbors. You are gifted and loved as an individual, with specific gifts to share. And I believe this from everyone you meet – even if you feel like the most mundane, ordinary person in the world, you still have gifts you can share.

And that brings us to another point. None of us have all the gifts. If we are to experience the full nature of this “manifestation of the Spirit,” we must be in community, receiving and offering help. We must be willing to see the image of God in people different from us, with gifts different from ours and different ways of living in the world like us. We are loved and gifted as individuals, but we are saved as a “fellowship of saints” together.

I hope you will discover and exercise your gifts and I hope you will also be tempted by the gifts of others.

Reverend Bryan Odeen is pastor of the Lutheran Church of Our Savior.