The Remarkable Nature of Spiritual Gifts
While most people have left graduations in the rear view mirror, because of another state’s long school year, we have one more high school ceremony to attend this weekend.
Since it involves our great-niece’s commencement, it is a welcome celebration. Our frenetic spring so far has included one graduation ceremony, invitations to two others that we couldn’t accept, and five receptions or picnics for members of the Class of 2023.
One of the highlights of the season came at the end of April, when our church held its customary fifth Sunday fellowship dinner. Because we had five graduating high school seniors this year, the pastor said we would recognize the grads that day.
Assuming her adult-sounding voice meant she must be a thirty-something, I was surprised to discover she was only 20. And, had never sung publicly until her brother’s funeral in 2015.
Three years later she had a recording contract with Capital Christian Music and released the album that included My Jesus.
This remarkable story sounded like another Mozart episode—the Austrian composer who wrote his first symphony at the age of nine.
Message of Encouragement
About the same time, our pastor had started a new sermon series on spiritual gifts. In one memorable message, he talked about how the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lived in us.
In the two weeks leading up to the fellowship dinner, I sensed God compelling me to share a message of encouragement with the graduates. He wanted me to tell them that this same Spirit lives in them, meaning I am excited to see what God will do in years to come through the gifts He has placed in them.
For a week I mentally rehearsed these remarks on an almost daily basis, with a sense of anticipation building as the day approached.
When it arrived, although I knew exactly what I wanted to say, I found my voice quivering as I spoke. Being the shy person I am, I’ve never been that comfortable with public speaking.
Spiritual Gifts & Words of Affirmation
Nearly two weeks later, I learned something that knocked my socks off: one of the graduates I had addressed had received a scholarship to a private Christian university. It will pay about 95% of her tuition and other expenses.
She had auditioned for the scholarship and as the winner, will be leading worship at weekly chapel services in the coming year.
“Talk about affirmation,” I said when her mother told me about it. “I had no idea when I said what I did that she had received that scholarship.”
Three weeks later my wife and I received a thank you note from another grad for the gift we had included in her graduation card. She concluded by thanking me for praying over the seniors, ending with: “I felt so loved!”
One point our pastor has made in his series is that spiritual gifts are meant to build up and bless others, not call attention to ourselves.
It took me a few weeks to realize what had happened at that fellowship dinner: God spoke through me for the purpose of blessing those grads. It was every bit as remarkable as a message in tongues or a miraculous healing.
As with all spiritual gifts, the praise goes to the Spirit who—as 1 Corinthians 12:11 says—distributes them as He chooses.