I’ve always had this idea that I would love beer.
I mean why would I not? Almost every adult I’ve ever known has liked beer. My brother owns a Beer Bible for heaven’s sake. And every country song I’ve grown up loving has alluded to the fact that beer is like heaven on earth.
One day last summer in Spain I decided to buy a beer at the market and try it with my homemade lunch. I set out my colorful plate of Alfredo pasta, nectarine slices, and potato chips. I felt pretty proud of my college student chef skills, and the energy was really popping from the country music in the background. I pulled my beer out of the fridge and popped the top. I sat down, said a nice prayer, thanked God for my beer and then took a sip.
BLEHHH. I felt like something had rotted in my mouth or I had just licked a dirty bathroom floor. “What the heck,” I thought to myself, “I was supposed to love beer!”
I honestly thought my future was ruined in that moment (dramatic, I know). But my whole life I had expected to love beer. Hanging out with my adult friends by the lake in the middle of summer while cracking a cold one was my dream.
Why had all of these country songs lied to me? Why did I HATE beer?
I was pretty upset. But, as is usual when I get upset about something, I tried to think of any positive side to the situation. At first I was at a loss, but then I had my AH-HA moment.
I thought to myself, “So what if I don’t like beer? Even better! Now I can be the fun friend who brings Sangria to every party. I love Sangria! Perfect.”
This sounds silly but it actually made me feel okay about not liking beer. No friend group is going to need another beer lover, because everyone else is a beer lover! Sangria is unique. It’s fun and fruity and sweet and it fits me just right.
And maybe when I bring Sangria to our days on the lake or our summer night bbq’s in a few years, others will begin to like Sangria more too! Maybe they’ll get a taste of something different than the norm and really like it. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll bring their own, different drink for everyone to share next time.
As weird as it sounds, I thought about how this relates to God and the church, especially how it relates to each of our individual gifts. Okay, slow down here. I’m not trying to get into the politics of alcohol in the church…but just here me out.
What good would it be if everyone in the church only liked beer? In other words, what if everyone in the church had the gift of leading worship (okay, weird analogy, but you get the point). If the only gift present in the church was leading worship then there wouldn’t be a functioning church at all. There would be no Sangria! No one would be preaching, no one would be leading the children, no one would be working at the bookstore!
If we all got upset about not having the cool spiritual gift, or if we all got upset over not being able to sing or play guitar, then the church would quickly turn into half-hearted copy cats and wanna-be’s.
We need your ability to preach. We need your ability to take care of rowdy children. We need your ability to make graphs and create study plans. We need your ability to lead small groups and help high school students grow in their faith. We need it ALL. Because just having beer would be boring.
So the next time you look down on your gifts, look up instead. God gave you every gift you could ever need to praise Him with your entire being.
The person preaching on the stage in front of you, and the person passing out Bible’s next to you, and the person leading the children into their classroom behind you do not bring the same fire that you bring into the room. They do not have your talents, your passions, your flame.
Live into the flame that you bring, and bring it with everything inside of your soul.
As one of my favorite quotes says, “be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” And pursue it without fear of how cool or uncool you look compared to the person next to you.
So next time you think about comparing your spiritual gifts to someone else’s in the church, get off your booty and make Sangria instead (figuratively, of course)!