Sermon Notes for 1 Corinthians 13, & Luke 4:21-30
Preached January 28, 2007
Some of you may think me totally nuts, but I started planting my garden this week. I know it is about 80 degrees outside today, but I also know that there is likely to be another freeze around here before long. I have been out cultivating the ground, getting all the old dead growth out, the weeds gone, and preparing the soil. But I didn't plant any of the seeds outdoors. I potted all kinds of plants for the garden and put them in the front room, where the weather is pretty constant, they can get some direct sunlight, and I water them as needed.
In the planting I learned a little bit about the passages from 1 Corinthians 13.
We have been talking about Spiritual Gifts, and 1 Corinthians 13 is about how to use those spiritual gifts. I thought about the seeds I planted and the dirt I used. I took the seeds, I took the dirt, and I brought them together. I didn't make either one, but allowed God to work. I had to choose the right seeds for the right soil. I remembered using some soil last year for planting that didn't sprout anything, and I realized it had been contaminated by the lye from the concrete construction in the area. I also realized that some of the seeds had been destroyed, crushed beyond use, or irradiated, or just gotten too old.
I discovered a truth about the seeds and the dirt. Spiritual gifts are the seeds from God, and our lives are the dirt, and my responsibility as the pastor is to help you find the best growing conditions. All Spiritual Gifts are given for the building up of the entire body of Christ in a community of believers. I may have to add some nutrients to the dirt, or help find the right seed to grow in your soil. And then I remembered the old 7th grade science experiment using plants and love, and how the plant that was loved and cared for grew better. The seeds grow and produce when they are loved, by the community, by the soil as it nourishes and enriches the plant growing there, and by the creator who made them both.
Some of the seeds I have seen at Del Rosa UMC that I have seen sprout are:
Music - LeeAnn Malouf
Craftsmanship - Bob Brendza (the craft of keeping our sound system running smoothly)
Hospitality - Chuck and Nancy Denton
Wisdom - Sylvia Henry
Helps- Nicole, Desire, Patricia, Christine and Jason Fisher
Adminstration - Ruth Kilgore
Prophecy - Carl Gerber
Evangelist - Javier Flores
Compassion - Frank Strickland (Similar to that of St. Francis, one with all of creation)
Teacher - Marianne Hussey
If you are wondering what your gifts might be, let me suggest a few places to check it out. UMC.org has a new site, with a spiritual gifts inventory. Willow Creek has a good site for discovery as well.
And I have seen a video that reminds me that if one of us is not here,then what is missing from the body of Christ. I began to think about what gifts are missing from the body of Christ at Del Rosa UMC. The Apostle -the one who has seen Jesus and is sent to teach all that has been commanded. The Disciple - one who has seen Jesus and sits at his feet learning all that can be learned. The Missionary - one who has been sent from a community to another community in the name of Jesus Christ. The Speaking of Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues - one who communicates the direct word of God for the building up of the people of God.
As we are missing these gifts of the Spirit I wondered if maybe it is time for us to go out and do some recruiting, with the message, "We see this gift in you, given by God and we need that here at Del Rosa. Won't you come join us?" Or maybe we need to do some discovery about what the full complement of gifts already present here at Del Rosa may be, and allow them to grow, removing the blocks that hinder us. The ones like those that confronted Jesus to say, "Isn't this Joseph's son (the carpenter)?"
Jesus greeted them in love. As they sought to throw him out of the community and kill him he responeded in love. He reminded them that he was growing the Spiritual Gifts God had already sown in him. When they responded that he was a banana and they really hated bananas, he simply let it be known that whoever had taught them their flora and told them what a banana looked like was wrong. Jesus was a different kind of fruit, and was bearing the kind of fruit he was made to produce.
When they still looked at him funny and were ready to throw him off the cliff to his death, love prevailed. "Love is patient, love is kind. Love bears all things. Love is not rude or demanding of its own way." I don't know about you, but if a crowd was ready to kill me, I would have lost it. I would have pushed back, I would have been rude and ugly. I would not have been patient with them, or kind. Jesus just walked right through the crowd. Love prevailed.
When we let love prevail the fruit we are given to grow will grow to its fullest.
"And these three remain, faith, hope and love. the greatest of these is love." When it comes to growing the right fruit, we can have faith in God. We can have hope in the individual, or we can love both. The greatest of these is love. Amen.