I share a home with a couple and their three young children (all under 10). Not having children of my own, I love living with them and being able to participate in their lives — good days and bad. What I find fascinating is watching their personalities emerge and develop. One minute they are having a “typical kid moment.” Maybe the two-year-old is having a fit because he wanted cheese and not a banana. Maybe the seven-year-old has “forgotten” he’s supposed to be taking a shower and is building a Lego tower. And maybe the nine-year-old is making plastic jewelry with her new kit and giggling at the pieces that come out terribly. And then something pops out — an unexpected reaction that is surprisingly full of truth, or an impulsive gesture of gentleness in the midst of sibling rivalry, or a piece of art created that gives a glimpse into what is really going on in that little heart.
Some of us have been talking recently with one of the clergy about “Gifts of the Spirit.” About how God gives each of us something to use for the good of everyone. I love the New Living Translation which says, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” (1 Cor. 12:7). The challenge is learning to recognize the gifts in each other and support them, instead of wondering why that person got that gift and we got this one. Why do we compare when God has given us each something unique and totally appropriate for us?
I thought of that this week watching the three kids — already a seed is planted in them that will grow and flourish and benefit everyone around them. And ours is the privilege to water it and help be sure it is planted in good soil. Maybe if we try to look through God’s lens, we’ll make amazing discoveries about each other.