19 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied— 7 altogether there were about twelve of them.
At a recent worship service at St. John’s, two babies were baptized. They were marked with the cross of Christ and received into Christian fellowship. All of the usual visual signs of baptism were there: the pastor, the babies, the families, the water, the candle, the Bible verses. Yet something else also happened, something we could not see.
In today’s reading, Paul baptizes some believers in the name of the Lord Jesus. Upon their baptism, they receive the Holy Spirit, and they also receive the spiritual gifts of speaking in tongues and prophesying. Their spiritual gifts immediately become apparent, partly because they are adults.
The children recently baptized at St. John’s also received spiritual gifts. Because they are babies, their gifts are not immediately obvious. Did you know that if you have been baptized, the Holy Spirit has given you spiritual gifts as well? You may not be consciously aware of what they are, but you possess them nonetheless. Some potential spiritual gifts that you may have been given include leadership, teaching, administration, evangelism, service, giving, and hospitality, to name a few.
If you know what your spiritual gifts are, it is likely that you are using them to serve God at St. John’s and throughout the community. If you don’t know what your gifts are, did you know there is a questionnaire that will help you discover them? Did you know that St. John’s employs a staff member (Kristen Schmid Schurter) whose job it is to help people both discover and use their spiritual gifts? Wouldn’t a great New Year’s resolution be to discover and/or begin to use your spiritual gifts to serve God?
Dear God, when I was baptized, you gave me spiritual gifts. Thank you for my own unique gifts. Help me to look for ways to use my gifts to serve you and others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.