I had the honour of sharing the homily at the interment service for my Holm Grandparents. Since they made such a big impact on many, I thought I’d share my script.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 11
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Paul lists Spiritual gifts a few times in his letters – none of them have any real consistency, other than there are many within one body. So the point is unity and strength when they all work together – and love, in the power of the Spirit, holds them together.
Now, this isn’t a lesson necessarily in Spiritual gifts – I’d entertain that conversation later, however, over a Caramel Macchiato – your treat.
But when we experience grace, something really special happens. Other than the gift of eternal life, we also experience how God has particularly gifted us – in a new way.
It’s not that we all of a sudden have new gifts (albeit that could happen) – it’s that we now understand those gifts to be gifts from God. We give him the credit.
God can use anybody (believers and unbelievers alike). But one of the main differences between a believer and an unbeliever, is that a believer gives God the credit for those gifts, while an unbeliever will simply attributes it to talent or simply hard work –maybe even luck.
All good things come from our heavenly Father. And in turn those gifts draw us closer to God and help impact those around us.
Most of us would know the story of Mary and Martha when Jesus was invited over for a meal. Martha was distracted by all the preparations – no doubt stressed and overwhelmed to serve Jesus a meal.
Like you would – you’re cooking for Jesus.
While Martha was stressed in the kitchen, Mary was with Jesus, and it was Mary that was given recognition for choosing the better option.
Now, at first glance, you might think the problem is in cooking or serving food. Obviously, discipleship must be more important than a good meal.
But really, the lesson here is knowing how hospitality LEADS us to Jesus, and how we can’t get caught up with making that process perfect. After all, Jesus was in the room because of the meal they were about to share.
But the meal wasn’t the end, it was a means to an end. Getting frazzled with the details is only a distraction to the end goal of sacred hospitality.
Now, I get it – we don’t want overcooked roast beef, or undercooked homemade fries. But no matter what happens, we make it all work so we can enjoy each other’s company and allow it to bring us the nourishment we require so we can continue to serve the God that continues to sustain us.
I believe, while Grandma may have taken the lead, both Grandma and Grandpa naturally acted in the gift of hospitality.
Welcoming strangers in their home, leaving as friends, and returning later as family.
It played out so well. Things weren’t complicated – the focus was always on people. And it was natural and normal.
It don’t think Grandma ever said, “I’m now operating in the gift of hospitality!” No, she just made a pumpkin pie for whoever was coming over. And the stress of it being perfect didn’t matter.
In fact, her famous pumpkin pie recipe, as Deidre would find out some years ago, was the one found on the back of the can of E.D. Smith Pure Pumpkin.
Why do I share that? Because the focus was on WHO, not WHAT they served. Relationships bring us together, and help us journey together.
Grandpa’s role was a little different. It was almost scientific. He would cook with archaic precision.
Whether it was perfecting crepes, timing and measuring the cooking of homemade fries, or trying to convince Grandma runny eggs are the only way to go – everything was full of Frank logic whether it made sense or not.
And when everyone was seated, hands held, and grace was said… he became the entertainment. (You can be the judge as to how good the entertainment was)
But there was another gift that Grandpa had. It’s a gift that Paul doesn’t include in his lists of Spiritual Gifts, and yet, I believe it’s a very special one. It’s the gift of curiosity.
If Grandma led the charge of hospitality, Grandpa led the charge of curiosity.
If you want to see it play out – Grandpa would share something, and Grandma would question its validity.
No, but seriously…
Learning something new…
Discovering how to do something better…
Questioning the status quo…
And passing on that knowledge to someone else – that was Grandpa’s gift.
Asking the right questions…
Researching best practices for administrative policy…
Tinkering with the computer to “make it better”. Not Grandma’s computer, of course.
“It works just fine, Frank,” she would say.
Even later in life, his curious mind kept going – trying to calculate how long the battery in the scooter would last. That one was more of a trial and error experience.
How many times would I hear, “ANDREW!… You might find this interesting…” And he would go on with whatever he found, or something he learned, whether you found it interesting or not. He just couldn’t wait to share it!
But here’s the thing…
Scripture says to “Love the LORD your God, with all your heart, soul, MIND, and strength.”
“That’s right!” I can hear him say as he would laugh, knowing full well he was getting a reaction.
The point is this – God gave us a mind for a reason.
Even though we read in Ecclesiastes that there will always be some unknowns in creation, it shouldn’t stop our curiosity.
If anything, our curiosity will help us understand what we can, and allow us to draw closer to God in our amazement of what we cannot understand.
The Psalmist asked where God is…
And found him in creation.
The Disciple pondered who Jesus is…
And found him in conversation.
Grandma asked, who can I serve?
And found Jesus in hospitality.
Grandpa asked, how does that work?
And found Jesus in curiosity.
Today, we’re certainly inspired by their gifts and how they used them so naturally, and on a regular basis.
That’s a good thing – we all need a measure of Christian hospitality and curiosity. But neither of them had to try hard – it was a pleasure to serve and share.
Gifts are often like that, you don’t even realize you’re doing it. In fact, from my experience, it takes someone else to point out those God-given gifts that we think are just normal. We think, “Doesn’t everybody enjoy that?” No, the answer is no.
There’s was only one Frank and one Doreen.
The good news is – there’s only one of each of us, as well.
The question is, will you use your God-given gifts to the fullest?
We can learn from Grandma and Grandpa, we can be inspired by them, and even be stretched by their level of hospitality and curiosity…
But the real challenge is how WE live out our God-given gifts.
How will we allow our gifts to draw us closer to God?
How will we allow them to serve others?
And before you think you can’t, just remember it’s natural. If you focus on God, not the gift, and allow yourself to relax and enjoy the moments, God takes care of the rest.
Don’t try to be them, be the best version of you. That’s what they were proud of.
As we lay them to rest today, may the legacy of Grandma and Grandpa Holm, Mom and Dad, Frank and Doreen (however you knew them)… may their legacy impact generations to come as we all use our gifts for the Kingdom until we meet them once again.