Friday, February 13, 2009

Earnestly Desire The Higher Gifts

Well, I don't earnestly desire them, but sometimes they just come to you, unasked. My brother who is staying with us about half the time got a call from his ex-wife, who he stays with the other half, and is heading back to Massachusetts tonight. Half an hour after he got the call, before he has packed and left, we got an emergency call from Tracy's brother. We will have our nephew Kyle for the weekend. He has been through a miserable time in general, but especially the last few days.

We have some bizarre version of the gift of hospitality. Gifts do not follow the neat patterns that Sunday School teachers would have you believe. We are not especially good inviters of others over for social times. We were not one of those families who always had the whole neighborhood over visiting our kids. Our kids liked to go to other people's houses, where they had TV, or to be left alone. We don't often entertain. No one would look at our day-to-day lives and say "those people have the gift of hospitality."

The general pattern is that there is no pattern. God is too creative for that. People with a gift of evangelism may have it only in one narrow area, like children, or cult members. Or only in writing, not live. People who are cautious, even stingy with their money in all areas may have one path where resources just flow from them - a gift of generosity. "Heaven help me if I don't preach the gospel," says St. Paul. He might have said "I just can't help it. It's who I am."

It's who I am. I cannot do otherwise. It's one of the signs of the gift.

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