By Lana Turnbull
I’m a big believer in Spiritual Gifts. Most religions of the world teach about gifts or attributes bestowed on us by our Creator to serve a purpose. How we choose to cultivate them and deploy them can have a profound effect on our corporeal and spiritual lives. Most of us want to develop our talents that can make us financially successful, or worthy of praise and recognition. Some may make us more powerful, or wise or may give us more stature in the community. These are talents we use for our own greater good, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But weren’t they given to us for another higher purpose, like serving others? The question is worth pursuing because it turns out, sharing our gifts, no matter how grand or how humble, with others just might be the BEST selfish thing we can ever do.
The thing is, sharing something real of yourself with somebody else feels so good you almost feel guilty. Once you’ve tried it, it’s not the praise and appreciation you get that keeps you coming back, it’s the amazing rush of human goodness that just bounces right back all over you.
What’s so perfect about taking our talents and unleashing them where they can do good is that we all have something to give and there is a never-ending supply of folks that can use it. We just have find the right fit (or fits) to match up what we have with what they need.
It’s not that hard. If you can sing, volunteer to perform at a senior care facility, or lead a youth choir. If you are a good organizer, plan a food drive or hold a community yard sale to raise money for a local charity. Like sports? Coach a community team. Are you a good cook or gardener? Make up some meals that can be frozen and shared with an elderly neighbor or drop by a bag of fresh vegetables. Mentor a kid or tutor a struggling student. Just go by and visit a shut-in or offer to drive them to the grocery store. You may not consider all of these activities as gifts, but when put into action to serve someone else, they take on new meaning and value. If you are more of a joiner and like working in a structured volunteer environment, check out local organizations that look for volunteers to carry out their missions. Check with your church or school about programs they have or charitable organizations they are familiar with.
Well-Being has had the pleasure of working with a number of organizations that rely on volunteer help when we have put together our “Making a Difference in Mississippi” features. These include: the Good Samaritan Center; MS Industries for the Blind; Catholic Charities; the Little Lighthouse; Diabetes Foundation of America; Stewpot Community Services; the Society of St. Andrew; Friend’s of Children’s Hospital; and MS Kidney Foundation.
Spring is a great time to turn over a new leaf and put your talents to work. What and how you do it is up to you, but be prepared for the rewards and blessings that are going to come right back at you when you do.