Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction


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Helping My Husband Find His Ministry

Our Unique Gifts & TalentsWe have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach, if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. ~ Ro 12:6-8 (NIV)

I’d been praying about using my spiritual gifts in a more effective way, but I wanted to be sure I had them right. The pastor’s sermon on Romans 12 was the confirmation I needed.

Though the gifts are present in several Scripture passages, I’ll stick to the seven gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Encouraging, Giving, Leading, and Showing Mercy.

My primary gift is Encouragement; my secondary gift is Service.

In years past, I may have coveted other gifts like Prophecy or Leadership. But 33 years of walking with Christ has shown me two things: I’m no prophet and to be a leader you need followers. I have none—and I don’t think God counts Twitter.twitter-follow-achiever

Now that I had my gifts in order, as any good helpmate would do [good may not be the correct word, but meddling doesn’t sound as nice], I decided to help my mate find his.

My husband is not  joiner, nor is he as social as I am. He’s pretty much a homebody; therefore you can see why he would need my wisdom in this area.

After church, over breakfast, I brought up the sermon. “So what do you think your gifts are?”

“Not sure,” he said, as he took a sip of his coffee.

I announced, “Mine are Encouragement and Service.”

He put his coffee down. “Sounds right.”

banner-prophetic-declarationsI pushed on. “Well, do you ever feel like you have a Prophetic Word for people—besides me, I mean?” I confess I knew the answer all ready.

“Nope.” He took a forkful of scrambled eggs.

“Okay, what about Service? You’re always doing things for me like shopping, running errands, laundry, and helping me with my computer stuff.  Service could be your spiritual gift.”

He swallowed his bite and washed it down with juice. “Could be.”

“Wait. Let’s look at Teaching. You know how you’re good at explaining things to me– like on my blog or website or around the house– maybe you could teach others? You’re smarter than anyone I know.”

“Not so sure about that.” He bit into a sausage and said, “Hmm. Jimmy Dean?”

“Hey, perhaps we have the same gifts. You’re always telling me to do things that I don’t think I can do. Maybe you’re an Encourager.”

“Could be.” He wiped his mouth. “Can you please pass the jam?”

“Don’t panic, we’re not in a jam. We still have Giving, Leading, and Showing Mercy left. We’re not rich, but you give to many different causes, right? I’m always getting sidetracked, so I  certainly look to you to lead us. And we both know you have a lot of mercy.”

“Why do you say that?”  He got up and refilled our mugs.

“For starters, you’re patient with me when I’m sick. Me, with you, not so much.”

“Let’s not worry about all this right now,” he said. “God will reveal my gifts in His time.”

“I know, but this is important! We need to know what your gifts are so you can plug into a ministry.”

2014-10-20 -300-150Determined to solve this mystery, I mentally reviewed what we’d learned so far.  Suddenly it struck me. I looked at my husband and said, “Uh, oh. I think God just gave me a revelation.”

He finished clearing the dishes and sat down. “And what might that be?”

“I think He told me that your ministry is ME!”

My husband smiled and patted my hand.

I think he knew that already.

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Are You Using Your Unique Gifts & Talents?

Our Unique Gifts & TalentsMy husband had been sick on and off for years before he passed away, so my involvement in church ministries had been intermittent and limited. Near the end of his life, my ministry was caring for him.

After he died, I spent several months floundering around in grief before I decided to resume the church newsletter ministry I had begun years back. It helped to write. The problem was it also kept me isolated in my office.

I spoke with a friend one day and told her that I wanted to get involved in a ministry that gave me more interaction with people, but that I wasn’t sure where I belonged.

She said, “How about working in the nursery? The babies are so cute.”

“Yes, they are, arent’ they? But the whole crying/diaper-changing thing is way more than it’s cracked up to be.”

“Then how about Children’s Church? They’re always looking for workers.”

“Yeah, there’s a reason for that.  They wear volunteers out faster than we wear out deacons.”

“Pre-teens?”

“Unh-uh. They scare me.”

“Youth group?”

“No, they need someone cool. I’m not cool.”

She folded her arms across her chest and sighed. “Well, then, all that’s left is young adults.”

As soon as she said it I knew. I don’t know why, but I always enjoyed young people, especially those in their college years. They are so optimistic and full of ideas. I got excited thinking of ways I might minister to them.

In the end, I came up with a simple concept: I would feed them. (I knew if I wanted guys to show up, it had to involve food.) So each Tuesday night I cooked and invited them for supper. The program included a meal and conversation. I usually had between ten and twelve show up, sometimes more.

The fact that I was a mother like any other mother didn’t seem to concern them. Since my children were years older and virtually out of the picture, there was no chance of interpersonal drama. (Actually, sometimes I wondered if the young adults even knew I was there.)

At first I tried to steer the conversation by asking faith-based questions; but I soon  realized that these young people just wanted a place to gather and be themselves. I let them. It helped that I promised to keep their conversations confidential.

The result? Friendships were made and strengthened. One couple eventually married and now has three children.  Two people accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And I was used by God.

What is the Lord leading you to do? Care to share it?