For the Common Good

Today is Wednesday, January 9, 2019.

Day 22,217

35 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training.

“What I look forward to is continued immaturity followed by death.”
Dave Barry, U.S. columnist and humorist
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is pawky. Chiefly a British word, it means, “cunning; sly.”

C has a wicked catch in her right shoulder blade area, so we didn’t go exercise, last night. I stopped at Subway for dinner, though, on the way home. It still hurts, this morning, but she says it is some better.

Not much going on this week, otherwise. I’m thinking on what songs I’m going to lead, this Sunday. So far I’ve decided on “Word of God Speak,” and “10,000 Reasons.” I planning to simply focus on worshiping God.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

Today I am grateful:
1. For the victory of which that verse speaks. I may not be experiencing all of the effects of it right now, but it is certainly there for me to grasp.
2. For the blood of Jesus, that has cleansed all my sin.
3. For the privilege of intercessory prayer.
4. For the miracle of God hearing and listening to our prayers.
5. For puppies and kittens.

O God, you have made of one blood
all the peoples of the earth,
and sent your blessed Son to preach peace
to those who are far off and to those who are near:
Grant that people everywhere may
seek after you and find you;
bring the nations into your fold;
pour out your Spirit upon all flesh;
and hasten the coming of your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer)

(From Faith That Matters)

Today’s reading is “Extraordinary Grace-Gifts,” by Frederick Buechner

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:7

When someone is described as being “charismatic,” what do we typically think of? If you’re like me, and you are, sometimes, you probably think of a celebrity who has that certain je ne sais quoi about them. (Did you know that literally means, “I do not know what?”) They have what we might call “presence.” But they don’t have to be celebrities to be charismatic. We might run across that quality in people who are “nobodies” or even children.

If we consider, though, Mother Teresa, Francis of Assisi, Mahatma Gandhi, or that guy who “risked his neck smuggling Jews out of Nazi Germany,” and put them in everyday street clothes, we more than likely would not recognize them. Buechner calls these the “true charismatics,” because the word comes from the Greek charis, which means “grace.”

Side note . . . today is the first time I have heard that the word means “grace.” For most of my life, at least since the word “charismatic” began being used to describe a sect of Christianity, I was told that the word meant “gifted.” But it doesn’t. It means “grace.” I verified it, Buechner is right.

It is out of graciousness that “God gives certain men and women extraordinary gifts or charismata such as the ability to heal, to teach, to perform acts of mercy, to work miracles.”

And many of these people do not have what we would consider “presence.” “You don’t feel any special vibrations when they enter a room.” But they are the true miracle-workers.

Paul claims that we have all been given some kind of gift of the Spirit, some kind of “grace,” and for what purpose? “For the common good.” We are given this grace to share with others, not to draw attention to ourselves. This is me, not Buechner speaking, here. I believe that this is one area where the charismatic movement of the late twentieth century missed the proverbial boat. The “gifts” tended to be about “me.” Look at me, I’m speaking in tongues. Look at me, I’m prophetic.

That’s not the purpose of the gifts of grace at all. Again, they are “for the common good,” for the edification of the body of Christ.

Consider, if you will . . . “What extraordinary grace-gifts has God give you for the purpose of working ordinary miracles? How can you exercise them each day for God’s glory and the common good?”

Father, I pray, today, that You would remind me of the grace-gifts that You have given me; show me how I can best use them to build up the Body of Christ and to glorify Your great Name.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

Soli Deo Gloria!

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