A minister without the right gift: that was Mrs. Doll. I knew her in the church where I grew up. She prepared the bread and wine for the communion services and, every few weeks, sang a “special” during Sunday morning service.
Let me be clear: Mrs. Doll couldn’t carry a tune in a semi. Her gifts in the musical area were all under someone else’s Christmas tree. As a child, I dreaded her standing behind the pulpit to sing.
As a teen and adult, I looked forward to it. You see, her non-gift let the Spirit give me a gift: to get past the noise to the harmony with God on Mrs. Doll’s face and in Mrs. Doll’s life. Then, I saw her gift. I saw a farm woman who had dealt with a hard life and had in turn given much of herself to others with hard lives. And, I saw a woman who had a deep desire to praise her God in front of His people. In front of her people.
Her gifts were faith and love, what I’ve sometimes heard called “helps.” Her ministry was almost invisible, being done mainly in her home and the homes of others. God chose to have her express her love of God to her church, and to me specifically, by humble singing and humble living. I don’t think she could have sung in a large church. But, God placed her in a small one so she could minister in worship services with her nearly-non-gift.
When we think of giftedness, we sometimes get all caught up with who gets to give the sermons, perform marriages, etc. As churches, we need to be seeing to it that everyone is getting to use their God-given gifts, even seemingly itty bitty gifts.
“…many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:31 (TNIV)