News & Events
- December 2, 2016
- Posted by: Carolyn Mahal
- Category: Devotions
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. – 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Folk stories are a very common part of most cultures, and more interesting are the similarities in the stories from one part of the world to another. There may be different details within the stories to make them more applicable to each particular region, but the plot and theme remains the same. Take the story of Stone Soup for example. In Russia the stone is replaced with an axe (so when you are in Russia you should always carefully check your soup for dangerous tools).
Whether you are using an axe or a stone, the story of the Stone Soup teaches an important lesson. Two men wandered into a village looking for food. Sadly, none of the villagers were willing to share what they had. Undeterred, the men set about making their own meal. They filled a large pot with water and placed in onto a fire. Once the water began to heat up they placed a stone in the pot and waited. In time, someone walked by and asked them what they were doing. “Making stone soup” was the reply. After looking at the ingredients the villager claimed that their soup could be much better if they were to add a few carrots. So the villager ran home, brought a few carrots from his house, chopped them up and added them to the soup. As the day progressed this same thing happened over and over again with more villagers adding more ingredients to the soup until it was finally complete, delicious, and enough to fill everyone in the village – including its two guests. It seems that their harmless trick taught the village an important lesson – everyone sharing a little of what they had to the soup created something better than anyone had on their own.
This idea is not limited to the ingredients needed to make a wonderful bowl of soup. Consider education as an example. Every classroom has a teacher and students who contribute to developing the classroom culture. However, if these were the only people who interacted in that room it wouldn’t take long for things to grow stale. Effective teachers bring in other people, take their students to different places, and introduce new approaches and ideas to make the classroom more dynamic and the learning opportunities more diverse. This type of differentiated learning provides a greater level of enrichment for everyone. The students, their families, the teacher, and those guests all gain something new and rewarding from their interaction. Unfortunately, this simple concept is not always recognized. Many people who have skills don’t realize just how much they have to offer and never pursue it. Teachers who could benefit from the enhanced learning environment get bogged down by the many responsibilities of managing their classroom and lack the time or energy to take on more. Something which seems simple quickly turns complicated and unsuccessful. Keeping this in mind, let me ask you a simple question:
How are you enriching the lives of children in our schools today?
God has blessed us with skills and abilities designed to benefit others in His creation. These are not our exclusive property to be kept under lock and key for our own profit. They are gifts from above. Our role is to seek out ways to maximize their use, building God’s kingdom in line with His good and perfect will. When this happens, God blesses our actions abundantly. Those who receive the help are able to learn and grow in ways that may have otherwise been impossible. Those who provide the help are equally blessed with the knowledge that they contributed to something bigger than themselves – the development of intellect coupled with the formation of faith within the next generation of believers. Your gifts, large or small, will greatly enrich the lives of children while bringing them into a closer relationship with the One who gives them life.
Prayerfully consider what ingredients you can share then help yourself to the meal God has provided.
Devotion by Richard Schumacher
LSEM Director of Programs and Services