Gifting One Another
Dr. Mark Medley
The discipline of “gifting one another” is one of the primary vows taken by students and faculty upon entering the community of learners at the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky. As students and faculty who gather regularly for study and learning we share the conviction that faithful witness to Jesus Christ necessarily includes the habit of “gifting one another.” It is important to emphasize the pneumatic character of this habit. The fierce wildness of the Spirit pours out upon the people of God the fruits of God’s reign so that the saints may work to build up the body of Christ.
Gifting one another is to image the Triune God. To gift one another has its theological ground in the economy of gift-giving and gift-receiving in Triune God’s life. As we gift one another in the name of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, we, as a communion of learning, image in some analogous fashion divine gift-giving and gift-receiving.
Gifting one another is an act of friendship. To follow the God of Jesus Christ means to worship God, to be God’s friends, and to eat with God: to be God’s companions (Sam Wells, God’s Companions, p. 1). To be God’s friends is the nature and destiny of humanity. To live into and out of this nature and destiny is, in part, to be friends with one another, and to eat with one another.
Gifting one another is an act of peaceableness. In a world deformed through the violence of competition, commodification, and manipulation, gifting one another is a sign of God’s peace.
Gifting one another is an act of blessing. A dimension of gifting one another is naming the gifts of another person. To name such gifts is to bless a person, to celebrate the abundance of God. It is an act which calls a person to desire the joy of God.
Gifting one another is an act of remembering. As the Holy Spirit is forming us into a communion of learners, we recall our calling. Gifting one another is a re-membering, an act of being joined together so that over time our fragmented and anxious lives recover connection and stability that nurtures a cherishing of our humanity in a way that takes our selves seriously as ones loved by God and others.
Gifting one another is a practice of humility. As we indwell and are indwelt, we learn that we are not heroic individuals. As a communion of learners, we gift one another we are known and being known by one another as we ask questions and seek out answers together; as we read and interpret Scripture and other texts together; as we imagine together the future of God’s church. In acknowledging our dependency upon God and our interdependency with one another, we begin to humbly learn who we are, recognize our mutual dependence, and encourage mutual support.