That weekend with could be a church women's retreat - I attended one of these recently and found the joy of sharing with friends I had not seen in a very long time; some at least a year since the last women's retreat! The fellowship was awesome, laughing and sharing with each other, catching up on what had been happening. The food was delicious - and we didn't have to prepare it OR clean up afterwards - and the fun we had sharing and just being together was one I look forward to each year.
The weekend following the women's retreat, I attended a completely different "women's retreat" - a scrapbooking retreat! At this retreat there were also friends I had not seen in a few months, while others I had seen within the past few weeks. We shared fellowship just as with my friends at the church women's retreat! There was also food - everybody brought something for the snack table - and it was FULL of all kinds of goodies like homemade cakes and cookies; chips and popcorn; candy and candy and more candy! And a variety of drinks like water, coffee, tea and sodas. We had goodies to snack on all day long while we created our projects and enjoyed being together. We also took the time to go out to each for eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner - or ALL three. Everybody had fun throughout the weekend, laughing and sharing with each other.
Each of these two retreats have the same things in common:
FRIENDS + FELLOWSHIP + FOOD = FUN!!
As I reflect on this past Sunday spent with my scrapbooking friends, I think of the gifts (or talents) that God gives to each of us. In the Message Bible, I Corinthians 12:4-11 says:
4 God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. 5 God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. 6 God various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God Himself is behind it all. 7 Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! 8 The variety is wonderful: wise counsel, clear understanding, 9 simple trust, healing the sick, 10 miraculous acts, proclamation, distinguishing between spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues. 11 All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.
At one time I did not believe God had given me any special gifts or talents: "What can I do? I am not talented!" But, then I realized - I have been given many talents, like being a friend and listening to others, empathizing and sympathizing with them whenever they need that support. I realized I could sing - maybe not a solo, but I could be part of a choir! I could share my love of photography and scrapbooking by albums to display the pictures for family and friends. I realized I was a "leader" in some roles I play within the church; and a "follower" in other roles. I may not be athletic, or artistic or musically "talented"; but I do have some of these qualities that I can share.
And when I look at my friends - those from each of the above retreat groups - I see different gifts in each of them. Everybody has has been given a gift, or even multiple gifts. Some can create beautiful paintings or wall hangings; others can write beautiful words of poetry or stories for others to enjoy; others lead in beautiful music while yet others play musical instruments. And, as scrapbookers - and other crafters! - we have special talents to share in making cards, scrapbook albums to hold our memories, and many other crafts.
My Sunday Reflection may not be one from a church service or worship music or the words from the pastor; but God's Word and His gifts to us are shared in our everyday lives. While creating special presents for my granddaughter and others for the holidays; while hugging a grieving friend or sharing a memory with another; while laughing with other friends - this is sharing God's Love with the gifts that He has given...thank you, God for loving us and giving us special gifts to share!