Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: Study: 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11; Ephesians 4:7; 1 Corinthians 12:14-31; Romans 12:3-8; 1 John 4:1-3
It’s true. Husbands can foul-up even the most romantically intentioned gifts. Bob Hoffmann messed up so badly last week that he needed a team of people at the Goodwill Store in Placentia, California (and a serious amount of prayer!) to bail him out. It started when Bob hid $8,000 cash inside the pocket of an old orange shirt in the depths of his closet. “I didn’t think anybody would look in there,” Bob said. “What could possibly go wrong?”
He had an incredibly romantic idea: save $10,000 to surprise Linda with a gift—an Italian dream vacation (gift #1). A couple of weeks ago, though, Bob got a call from a relative in financial trouble, so Bob withdrew those secret savings from the bank to help (gift #2). Bob stuffed the money into the pocket of an orange shirt. Later, Linda told Bob she was going to Goodwill to donate some clothes. Big-hearted Bob grabbed a bunch of his shirts and loaded them into Linda’s car (gift #3).
It took Bob two days to realize what he had done. He tried to remain calm when he asked his wife, “Did you happen to drop off those shirts at Goodwill?” That’s when Bob told her about the secret account.
“Do you want me to ask how much was in that envelope?” she asked. When he told her they raced to Goodwill and a team searched though the store. They found some of Bob’s shirts, but not the orange one. So they prayed. The phone rang the next morning. A worker saw a bin full of men’s dress shirts, and one of them was orange. “Thank you, Jesus,” Bob and Linda praised in unison.1
Even the best-intentioned human gifts can sometimes fall short of their intended purpose. However, when God gives us the gifts of the Spirit, they are always perfect. This week’s lesson examines how God’s gifts enable us to function as His church. God gives gifts to provide for every aspect of church life, from the pastor to the custodian.
The nice thing about a gift is that it is just that—a gift—freely given simply because the giver wants to give. As Sunday’s lesson points out, “The gifts are, after all, gifts of grace… gifts of love.” Just as we give gifts to please others, God gives the gifts of the Spirit so that we can uplift and enlighten others. Then we receive joy from the simple act of sharing the gifts God gives to us with others.
And when you have good intentions in your gift giving, God often works in your favor. Last weekend, Bob found out his relative no longer needed the money, so he deposited the money safely back into the bank for the vacation.
He didn’t mess up that part.
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