Sunday, June 17, 2012

There's an app for that ...

Cell phones.  Life was fine without them, right?  True, but after having one for a while you realize how useful they are if you happen to damage or misplace yours.  Like I did.  Mine was not one of the newfangled iPhones or a Droid or anything that “smart.”  In comparison, you might call it a “dumb-phone”.  But it did have some handydandy features that I did use quite a bit.  I could call people and receive calls, of course.  My phone had an alarm clock, which kept me from napping too long on my lunch break at work.  There was a calculator that I could use to quickly split a check at a restaurant six ways, including the tip.  I could even download music or podcasts to my phone and use it as an mp3 player.  And those features are just a few that came pre-loaded on the phone!

 Over time I did add some software applications, called “apps”, to make my cell phone more useful to me.  Things like some custom ringtones, so I could wake from my lunchtime naps to the sound of “WOW – WaHaHaHow – WOW – All I can say is WOW!”  (if that doesn’t get your attention, not much else would.)  The King James Bible was always with me, even if the print was tiny and it was difficult to navigate through the books.  And speaking of navigation, I am so thankful for the app that gives turn-by-turn directions to get me through the roundabouts of Ladera Ranch, otherwise I’d still be trying to find my way home from the party Julie hosted in 2011!   

Even if you and I had the same model of cell phone, the apps on your phone would probably be different from what I have on mine.  You may work in the medical field, and have a medical dictionary app on yours.  I’m not much into taking pictures, but you might use Instagram to share pictures of your grandbabies.  And for when boredom strikes, you might play Words With Friends, but not with me because I’ll be reading something on the Nook app.

In a way, you and I are like cell phones.  God made us all in His image and likeness, but made each of us unique, in that we all have different inherent strengths, or different apps, so to speak.  Those apps are often referred to as “spiritual gifts.”  These spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit, that Spirit of God that comes alive in us when we believe in Jesus.  The same Spirit that gives you your spiritual gifts is the same Spirit that gives me mine.  He gives them to each person, just as he decides.  Some people have the gift of healing, such as nurses, doctors, health care professionals.  Someone else might have the gift of wisdom.  Many people have the gift of faith – they know God continuously works wonders in the lives of people.  There are those who have an innate passion for teaching, or for working behind the scenes to help make programs work.  Those who make visitors welcome in their homes are known for their gift of hospitality.  When you have a spiritual gift, it’s as though you have a pre-loaded app for what you love to do, and you do it well.

Our spiritual gifts are to be used, not just for our own benefit, but for the benefit of those around us.  Back to the cell phone illustration.  Whether we have smart-phones or dumb-phones, the features and apps are useful if they are, well, used.  I did not realize until very recently that I could check my email and reply from the palm of my hand. Well, that’s not exactly true.  Now that I think of it, I did sort of know about doing email from my phone, knew it could benefit me, but never bothered to put it to use.  In the 2 ½ years I’ve had my phone, it just now occurred to me how many times I could have sent an email mid-day to bless somebody who could have used an encouraging word. 

The topic of spiritual gifts is one wher I could go on and on.  Just as there are some half a million apps you can download to your smart-phone, there are probably as many gifts the Holy Spirit can load in to those who believe in Jesus.  Many gifts may be similar, but each one has its own distinct nuances, just as individual as the one who receives the gift.  If you wish to explore this subject further and learn more about what your unique spiritual gifts are and how you might use them to benefit others, I would be willing and honored to help guide you in this endeavor.


Mary from the Prairie

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