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"Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit."

- 1 Corinthians 12::4 (Holman Christian Standard)

How often do we hear an athlete referred to as "gifted"? When that word is used to describe an athlete, we usually think of a "star" player like Drew Brees, Mike Trout, or Kevin Durant. These men represent the "best of the best" in their respective sports of football, baseball and basketball. Each is able to play the game at its highest level and excel. The word gifted is defined as "being endowed with natural ability or talent". Nowhere in that definition does it mention that someone who is gifted is a star! Think about it, is the long snapper on a football team gifted? Is the pinch hitter on a baseball team gifted? What about the "sixth man" that comes off the bench to spark the starting five on the basketball court? None of these athletes would be called stars, but they certainly are gifted. Good long snappers, pinch hitters and sixth men are valuable commodities to their teams. Athletes with these gifts are needed to win championships.

I think the Apostle Paul would have made an excellent coach. He understood that everyone isn't gifted in the same way, but that a variety of gifts are necessary to build a championship team. Paul wanted his team, the church, to be everything that God called it to be. New Testament "stars" like Paul and Peter were pivotal in growing God's Kingdom. However, let's not forget the importance of role players like Andrew and Barnabas. They were not stars, but they were certainly gifted. Encouragers and those willing to bring others to hear the Good New of Jesus Christ, are important in God's plan as well. What gift has God given you: great leadership skills, wisdom, compassion for young people, or simply wanting to make a positive difference in the lives of others? God is putting together a team of champions and He is calling each of us to use the gifts we have been given.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts You have given me. Teach me to use them in ways that will honor you and bless others. AMEN

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