Daily reading: 22 September
Use what God has given you to serve others.
Now send men to Joppa for a certain Simon who is called Peter; he is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside.’ When the angel who spoke to him had left, he called two of his slaves and a devout soldier from the ranks of those who served him, and after telling them everything, he sent them to Joppa.
- Acts 10, 5-8 New Revised Standard Version. Click here to read the King James Version
Cornelius’ question to the angel and his response are reminiscent of the encounter between Jesus and the Centurion. There is a straightforward practicality about the way he asks the angel what their message is, and then acts on it swiftly.
He shows a confident faith consistent with who he is: a soldier used to receiving and giving instructions and this is the way God deals with him.
Sometimes when we read about biblical characters or great Christians throughout history, we can think that God will only speak to us in the same way.
But as St Paul says, 'the particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose' (1 Cor 12.7).
God has made you uniquely and given you particular characteristics.
So we need to reflect on how we can use what God has already given us in serving others and in prayer.
If your church is full of people who are good at crafts, but you prefer sport, perhaps God is calling you to use these skills in his service.
If you are an extrovert, then you may find extempore prayer and prayer with others more natural than being in silence.
We may hear God’s voice more clearly if we talk to him in the way that is most natural for us.
Lord Spirit, help me to listen to where you are calling me next and how I should be using the gifts you have given me in your service. Guide me in the conversations that I will have today so I may encourage others in what you have given them.
Today's contributor is the Rev James Hutchings, former Mission Resources Adviser for the Anglican Diocese of Exeter, now Team Rector at Littleham-cum-Exmouth.
Published on 22 September 2017