The Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Scripture - Lesson IV

Ministry Gifts - Part I
Ministry, Exhortation, Giving, Leadership, Mercy

Suggested answers.
Be sure to answer the questions yourself first!
Then compare your answers to those listed here.

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1. What is the difference between ministry in this general sense and ministry as a gift as in Seek the Gifts?
Ministry in general is service of some sort; ministry as a gift is "serving people in very practical ways by supernatural power" – perhaps with a special knowing what the needs are and being enabled to meet them – coming from God and not just ourselves.


2. Some of the Pope's letters are labelled "apostolic exhortations". What might be the significance of these letters in contrast to others?
Probably more of a call to action in contrast to others which may be teaching about points of doctrine or issues which need addressing.

3. What difference is there between exhortation and encouragement?
In some people’s minds there may be none, but exhortation might be thought of as "cheering on" and encouragement as "cheering up".

4. According to the Catechism, priests "encourage their brethren by their example". How can we encourage others by our example?
By our actions – especially doing what is right when it is difficult; the practice of Christian virtues; our character and spirit; faithful church attendance.


5. Fr. Al (SG) said that a tithe is a bill, not a gift. How did you feel when you read this? What do you think about this statement?
It’s a strong statement – many will feel uncomfortable or even resentful.

Without being legalistic, one could probably say that the tithe is a minimum level of giving for Christians; some would say that only the amount above the tithe is really giving.

6. If we sold our possessions and gave away the proceeds, would God take care of us? Explain.
If we had a direct command from God to do so, He would. If we did it just on our own or to test Him, probably not. We notice that He told the rich young ruler to do so, but not Zaccheus.

7. To what or whom should we give?
God – but we must decide who is doing His work and should be supported. We can ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit for specifics. Some would say that all of our tithe should go to the local church (for Catholics this would include the diocese) and only giving above it to other ministries. Others would say that the local church does not completely embody all that God is doing and would justify giving a portion of the tithe to other ministries.


8. How does leadership in Christian groups differ from leadership in other realms - e.g. in government or business?
It is servant leadership, not based on dominating or commanding – a Christian leader wouldn’t be called "boss". While government officials are sometimes referred to as "public servants", not many seem to have an attitude of humble service. Christian leadership aims at leading toward what God wants, not necessarily what the group wants.

9. What was the significance of "foot washing" in Jesus' time? Why is Jesus' act of washing the apostles' feet not usually interpreted as instituting a sacrament of foot washing?
Because the people wore sandals and many streets and roads were not paved, their feet became dusty. It was an expression of hospitality to have a servant wash visitors’ feet when they came into the house.

It seems more an example or analogy of how we are to serve. In the sacraments we receive grace enabling us to do something – e.g. live our Christian lives.

10. How can we tell if someone (including ourselves) has a gift of leadership?
Do they: have an attitude of service & self-sacrifice; help people work together; attract followers even without seeking them; have a vision of what God wants and an ability to communicate it.


11. What are works of mercy?
Charitable acts by which we come to the aid of our neighbors spiritually and physically.

12. What is the difference between showing mercy and doing works of mercy?
Showing mercy: forgiveness
Doing works of mercy: actions – feed the hungry, visit the sick, etc.

13. If we are all called to show mercy and do works of mercy, how is the gift of mercy different?
The gift of mercy is the supernatural empowering to be able to show mercy and do works of mercy. In the words of M.Teresa, it can "overcome repugnance".


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