“I eat a good breakfast every morning.” She was 92 years old and had eaten healthfully all her life. She earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics that included a study on nutrition. But one morning my mother woke up unable to get out of bed. She felt weak and trembly. “But what do you eat every morning?” The doctor pressed. Mom answered, “Cereal.” At first it had been shredded wheat but the last few years she had switched to Cracklin’ Oat Bran. She rarely ate lunch now since she woke late in the morning and could easily make it through to dinner. “You need to eat more of a variety of foods. If you eat the same foods every week, you are not getting that variety and so your body is not getting all the vitamins it needs. And you need to eat all your meals.” Beside her an IV steadily dripped needed vitamins and nutrients into her arm.
Getting into a pattern of eating the same foods every day can work against a person’s health. Many of us often eat the same foods at breakfast and lunch but if we can switch it up a bit, a variety of foods will ensure a larger spectrum of nutrients. Maybe that’s why God planned seasons so that we would be sure to get different foods throughout the year.
God likes a variety. We can see this in creation’s many different plants and animals. Just like eating a variety of foods results in a healthier body, so the church includes a variety of gifted people who, when working together, result in a healthier church. Some people are gifted in discerning the word of God, some in expressing it through music and dance, and still others in extending service to the wider communities around them. In fact, God gives us many gifts throughout our lives so that we may contribute to the health of His church. Gifts of talent from God make our service a pleasure and create a joyful people.
Yesterday a woman in our church got up in front of the congregation to inform us of a service project to make 2000 food packets for the starving children in Africa. As she spoke, I could clearly see her compassion for these people who through her inspiring words no longer seemed so far away, but right beside us in the heart of this service-oriented spokeswoman. After that, our youth put on a musical show for the church. It was amazing. These kids had memorized large portions of scripture in the dialogue of the play that they never would have done had it been assigned as Sunday school homework. Our two talented music leaders had reached the kids in a way that spread joy throughout the church using music and dance. The church is where God’s gifts are revealed.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.–1 Corinthians 12:4-7