Friday, July 31, 2015

Bishop’s Note: Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Service

Bishop Eric Menees

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:3-4)

Jesus shared these words with the crowds during the Sermon on the Mount. Do you find yourself hungry to give to the needy? Do you find yourself hungry to care for others? And yet desire to do so without fanfare or acknowledgement? If so perhaps you have the Spiritual Gift of Service.

It was while I was in college that I first learned that I was blessed to have the gift of Service. A good friend of mine was a member of a sorority. I would visit Marsha and see these young women who seemed in need of care and attention that had no strings attached – no potential romance – no chance to be taken advantage of. And so, with Marsha’s help and encouragement I formed a group of men together to be the “Big Brothers” for the sorority.  We found ourselves helping where we could, having a listening ear and a non-judgmental presence. One Lent I was lead by the Lord to take on as my Lenten Discipline to anonymously write to each of the women sharing something that I’d seen them do, to complement them or otherwise give a “That a Girl” to each.  These notes were sent daily throughout the forty days of Lent.  What a joy to see the girls receive these notes and speculate who was writing them.  To my knowledge no one every guessed correctly.

Closely associated with the gift of Service is the service of hospitality.  I was blessed this past week to be the recipient of just such a gift. I was making my pastoral visit to St. John’s, Petaluma and found myself the guest of parishioners.  I didn’t arrive until 10:00 pm but they were awake and ready to greet me; immediately made me feel comfortable and engaged me in stimulating conversation - nothing showy, nothing flashy just an open door and a warm smile.  This was indeed a gift given in love without expectation of anything in return.

Without the Gift of Service the church of the first century could not have existed.  It was because of courageous and giving people like, Nympha (Col. 4:15), Gaius (Rom 16:23) and Prisca & Aquila (1 Cor. 16:19) who hosted house churches.  Opening their homes and their lives to new Christians knowing that their service was a gift to be received by the Holy Spirit and shared with the Body of Christ and was given freely and without expectation.

Giving without expectation is the hallmark of the Spiritual Gift of Service. Does this describe your calling and joy? If so rejoice because God the Holy Spirit has given you a very special gift to be shared with others… the love of service!  

I pray you all a truly blessed week!

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