Nothing delights a pastor more than having six frustrated children’s workers come into his office 15 minutes before the worship service starts. At least that’s what Pastor Keller kept telling himself.
Hal: Pastor, you got a minute? Good.
Gladys: We want to talk to you about your recent sermon series.
Pastor: The one on spiritual gifts?
Bob: That’s good. You must have the gift of discernment. Just like me. Soul brothers.
Ruthie: Whatever, Bob. Pastor, the kids were quite a handful today.
Pastor: And this has to do with a sermon on spiritual gifts?
Gladys: Of course. You know, Pastor, nothing is more important than imparting the Word of God to young minds. The children were doing quite well during my teaching time.
Ruthie: Good gracious, Gladys, you had them drawing pictures of Ezekiel’s prophetic visions.
Gladys: I was just having them illustrate what they learned. Application, you know. The problem came afterwards.
Pastor: Which was . . .?
Ruthie: As I said, Pastor, the kids were a handful.
Hal: Especially Clyde Dexwater.
Bob: As one with the gift of discernment, I knew Clyde would be a handful today.
Ruthie: That and the fact that his mother likes to give him Sundays off from taking his Ritalin.
Ruthie: Grape Kool-aid.
Hal: Grape Kool-aid and crackers. It makes them feel good and encourages them to come back.
Pastor: Let me guess . . .
Hal: That’s right. I’ve got the gift. The gift of encouragement.
Ruthie: All you did was encourage Clyde to make a mess.
Hal: OK, so Clyde spilled a little Kool-aid.
Ruthie: It was grape! And on the new carpet Mrs. Harris donated from her lottery winnings.
Pastor: So you took care of it, right?
Hal: Well, Pastor, we tried. But no one was doing it right.
Gladys: Except me.
Ruthie: Gladys, you bored him with a lecture!
Gladys: If you had the gift of teaching, you would know that the only way we could help Clyde was to instruct him in the proper way to hold a glass.
Ruthie: Well, if you had the gift of exhortation, you would know that what the boy needed was a warning. He’s eight years old! He needs to know the consequences for such actions.
Mildred: He knew what he did. Goodness, he was crying.
Ruthie: But all you did was hug him.
Mildred: Teachings and exhortations didn’t help anyone. He needed someone with the gift of mercy.
Hal: He didn’t need to be coddled. When a kid falls off a horse, you encourage him to get back on again.
Bob: So you gave him another cup.
Ruthie: Of grape Kool-aid.
Hal: It’s obvious you’ve never been blessed by someone with the gift of encouragement.
There was an awkward pause as the tension built.
Pastor: Did anyone clean up the mess?
Pastor: The grape Kool-aid on the carpet. Did anyone clean it up?
Bob: That would be Sid. He’s got the gift of service.
Hal: Yeah. Too bad he was out of town today.
Later that morning, Pastor Keller did something unprecedented. He preached the same sermon on spiritual gifts he had preached the previous week. Apparently, not everyone had been listening.
This article originally appeared in HomeLife magazine.