Preacher: Mark Edington
Text: 1 Corinthians 12:7: “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit
for the common good.”
The school year is over, or almost over, and probably your mind is already set on what you’re going to do this summer. But now there’s something we need to talk about. I need to tell you that I’ve had a conversation with your teacher. Don’t worry—it was a really good conversation—but probably we should talk about it a little.
The first thing you should know about it is that you’ve had a good year and you’ve done remarkably well. Your teachers all were very pleased with how well you did this year, and of course we’re very proud of you.
So one of the things this means is that next year you’re going to be in a different class. You’re going to be in something called the “gifted” class. It’s for students who have done really well, who show real promise and need a little more of a challenge.
Now, I want you to know that this has not been an easy decision to make. It isn’t easy to feel like you’re different from other students, and it might be hard at first if you know they’re looking at you and wondering why you’re doing something different or studying different things.
But you have some very real gifts and some very remarkable talents, and it’s important that you make the most of them, and it seems that really the best way to do this is to have you join the gifted class.
It’s going to be different for you in a few ways.
First, you’re going to study whatever you want to study now. The Gifted Class is a lot less structured. You don’t have to study the same thing as everyone else, at the same time as everyone else.
But that means you really are going to have to spend some time figuring out just what things you’re good at that you want to explore more deeply. Because the idea of this gifted class is that the gifts you have, and that you now get to develop in a more intentional way, well, they’re not just for you. You’ve been given these gifts to help others.
In fact, what the teachers think is that you really excel when you’re given an opportunity to use those gifts for others. That’s what they noticed about you this year. You perform better, you get better grades, and you’re just happier when you’re developing your skills by helping others.
Your class meetings will be different, too. You’ll only have class once a week now. It’ll be something like a seminar, and something like a performance, where you and all the other students are the performers. It’ll be on Sunday mornings
So here’s another difference about your new class. There are going to be a lot more tests. I know, that doesn’t sound good. And what will seem even stranger is that you won’t know when they come.
You may realize a little after the fact that something that happened to you that day—something you had to do, or something you had to decide—was a test of some kind. There will be more of these, and they’ll seem small, when you notice them. And you might not even always notice them.
Now, remember what I said about how weird it might feel to be in a class different from everyone else? Here’s the last thing that’s sort of different about your new class. When you’re in this gifted class, the whole idea of the class is to help you develop your gifts in such a way that you help other students get into the gifted class, too.
You may have a gift for making friends. Or you may have a gift for writing. Or you may have a gift for serving people who are in need. Or you may have a gift for beautifying places. Or, well, who knows? You have been given a lot of gifts, that’s for sure, but what has gotten you into this new class is that you have some gift—maybe more than one but certainly at least one—that you’ve been given for the purpose of helping others realize the gifts God has given them.
So the idea of your new class, this gifted class you’re going to be in, is that it’s for gifted children, yes—but the idea of it is not to be exclusive. It’s to grow, to become bigger, to help other people find and claim their gifts and come and join you. And of course the more you can help do that, the easier it will be.
We are, of course, mean to be agents of grace, all of us who are children of God. We all of us have been uniquely gifted, not for ourselves, but for God’s greater purposes; and we come closest to our true purpose, we flourish most fully, when we develop those gifts and share them with others. When we do so, we help them find the gifts that they have been given and we create the community of gifted children of God that we are meant to be. Amen.