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McCoy: Different gifts, on God
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There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (New Living Translation)

Have you ever wanted to be just like someone else? As children, sometimes we imagine being other people. When I was little, I imagined being born into my best friend's family. Now, this wasn't because I didn't like my family. I simply liked my best friend so much that I wanted to be in her family. After all, no one is closer than family, right? Sometimes, I would try talking like her, acting like her and even trying to be exactly like her in every way. But no matter how hard I tried, I was still me - just pretending to be someone else.

Sometimes in our church life, we are not happy doing what we do best. We want to be someone else. We try doing things that fall outside of those things that we enjoy. If we see that someone else is really happy teaching a class, for example, we may try teaching a class, even when we don't really like it or when we do not have the "gift" of teaching others. We may enjoy listening to a choir sing beautiful music, and we love it when people look like they enjoy singing. Yet when we try to sing, it may be sheer torture for us, and for those listening to us. Many people get discouraged with getting involved in church simply because they are trying to fit into someone else's mold instead of discovering their own gifts. They become frustrated and unhappy doing one thing because it's the wrong thing for them.

God does not call us to serve in areas in which God has not gifted us for service. Do you love music? Maybe God is calling you to be part of a music ministry at church. Do you have a passion for teens and youth? Maybe God is calling you to help out in a youth group as a volunteer. It is a mistake to think, "Well, I have no patience with children, therefore God must be calling me to grow in that area and work with children." If you are being called to a specific ministry area, rest assured that the Holy Spirit will be there to guide you into that area by giving you a gift and passion to serve in that way.

Just because you're gifted in ways that others aren't, don't think that you are better than others are. God is the same God, and God gives us all gifts so that we can help each other, not so that we can fight about who is better.

Where is God calling you to serve in the local church?

Jan McCoy is associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Covington. She may be reached at