By Ken Woodley
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord … the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good … All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.”
— 1 Corinthians, chapter 12
Each of us is a piece of stained glass through which the love and grace of God can shine into the world. No piece of stained glass is more important than another.
Consider the most magnificent stained glass window you’ve ever seen. Now, in your mind’s eye, knock out one piece of its colored glass.
The emptiness of that missing piece takes away from the whole. Anyone looking at the stained glass window is going to find themselves unwillingly drawn to that empty space. That is what their eyes are going to see, no matter the beauty of the rest.
Each of us has a talent that we share with our family and the world beyond our own four walls through the willing exercise of that God-given gift. None of these gifts is more, or less, important than another.
Even the seemingly simplest act of service—which might not even seem like a piece of stained glass—is a crucial openness of the human heart which is, in itself, a powerful gift that our world so desperately needs shared.
Each of our gifts is also like a spoke on a wheel. Each spoke is connected to the same wheel hub, just as our gifts come from the same Holy Spirit. Remove even a single spoke and the wheel is weakened and then one day breaks and the journey—wherever our family or community were headed—is delayed or jeopardized entirely. Every spoke matters equally and is a blessing.
Look at our own hands. One of our fingers cannot pick even a penny up off the sidewalk. But when our fingers work together we can take a sword and pound it into a plowshare.
God gives each of us our own unique gifts so that we will work together for the greater good. The more we work together, the greater the good.
Nobody has all the gifts they will need to live a full and truly happy life. And if we did, how terrible to be alone with so many gifts and nobody with whom to share them.
Even when the world feels surrounded by clouds—as it does now—there is a light still shining behind them and through them. Through our own piece of stained glass into a world that needs us now.
Needs to be together with us now more than ever. Nobody else has what you can give the world. Nobody else is the piece of stained glass that you are. Don’t keep it to yourself by pulling it from the stained glass window. Don’t make an empty space where your unique gift is most needed.
And don’t despair. Your gift can do great good. Especially now.
Hold yourself up to the light.
Not the darkness.
Let that light shine through you.
By Ken Woodley