"There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit..." 1 Cor. 12:4
I have not yet blogged about television shows, but I feel compelled to write about one that has emerged as a great kernel of spiritual popcorn. Heroes, which airs Monday nights on NBC, is a show that captures the essence of what it means to be gifted.
On the show, as in many superhero stories, various characters possess special abilities (i.e. flying, becoming invisible, super-hearing, reading minds, etc.). But unlike most comic book plotlines, these characters are just plain, ordinary people. They are police officers, computer programmers, auto repair workers, high school students, hospice care workers, artists, and lawyers. The show follows each of them as they deal with their powers.
What a series like this reminds us of is that we, as ordinary people, possess our own special gifts.
We may not be able to melt steel with our eyes, but each of us can do something that no one else can do as well as we can. I'm not saying these abilities make us better than anyone else, but what is there something that we are proud of doing really well?
Often times, we ignore or waste these gifts instead of using them to better the world. We get lazy and we let our abilities get lost in our very busy and overpressured lives.
In Heroes, some of the characters are doing just that with their abilities. In a recent episode, a woman who can hear sounds from miles away decides to drown out her powers with music instead of finding ways to use this strength to help others. In another episode, however, a Japanese cubicle worker decides that because he can stop time and transport himself elsewhere, he should do more than just use this ability for fun and entertainment; instead, he feels a deep call to use this power to save the world from a nuclear threat.
We can learn a valuable lesson about our own "special abilities" from a television series like this. Spiritually, what power or powers do we have, and are we using them to better the world?
Are we using our gifts to make money or make life easier for ourselves? Even worse, are we ignoring our gifts altogether out of fear or because of life's many distractions?
In the apostle Paul's letters, he mentions giftedness several times and in several letters. He tells his audiences that each of them has a unique gift given by God to move the world towards the Reign of God. He wonders, though, are we using these gifts or wasting them away? He asks if we are up to the challenge of becoming the body of Christ in the world; in other words, will we each play our part in transforming society through the one or the several things we can do well?
Heroes asks us the same questions as Paul did twenty centuries ago. What will our answer be this time?