At our Baptism each of us receives a call to service from Christ. In our lesson this week, we focused on how God enables each of us to fulfill that baptismal call. As fourth graders, the children typically understand that not only are each of us made in God’s image, but that we are each uniquely created as individuals. God has given each of us unique gifts and talents that make us who we are. However, we often find it difficult to identify these gifts, even as adults.
I started the lesson asking the students, “What are you awesome at doing?” A few of them sat up a little taller and looked at me. “What gift did God give you,” I added, “that makes you awesome at something?”
One boy held his hand high. Proudly, he told me he was great at baseball. A few of the other students laughed and looked at me, seemingly waiting for me to tell him that baseball didn’t count as a God-given gift.
Instead I told him, “Yes! God did give you the gift of being a great athlete.” After a few strange looks from the kids, I asked “Why not?”
More hands shot up in the air. The students happily proclaimed they were good at singing, soccer, dancing, science, gymnastics, baking, math, reading, speaking, swimming, and so on. With just a little prompting from me, they came up with other God-given gifts such as patience, comfort, leadership, happiness, hospitability, friendship, a loving heart, forgiveness, and understanding. I was excited to see them really interested in creating this long list, and every student added something to it.
I then asked, “How do you use these gifts from God to serve?” No one raised a hand. I had to prompt them: “Think of a teacher who helps you learn, who makes you feel good about being in her class, or who is just a great teacher. Now, do you think she has God-given gifts she is using to help her teach? Could teaching be her way of serving as God calls her to do?”
One of the boys said he was gifted with happiness, so I explained that he could use his pleasant disposition to uplift people around him. One of the girls said she was gifted with an ease of understanding things. I pointed out that she could use her gift to help a friend understand a math problem or grow up to solve complex math equations that send rockets into space.
As we wrapped up the class, I challenged the children to identify someone in their lives who uses his or her gifts to serve others, which was a call received at Baptism.
Only our imagination limits the discovery of how to use our God-given gifts. How do you help the students in your class discover their gifts? How do they use them to serve God and others?