Most of my professional career has been spent in the commercial real estate industry. Development, property management, asset management, accounting, finance, leasing, executive suite – 25 years leaves a lot of room to practice a variety of services!
I admire the common practice of celebrating successes at the close of a transaction in real estate. For some transactions, the celebrations culminate with a large ‘closing dinner;’ the parties participating in the deal share stories over a lavish dinner. Often, a group will create a ‘deal toy,’ a little prop that notes details from the project, and ends up on someone’s desk or bookcase. You might have seen some ‘brag shelves’ in your day? Those are deal toys…..it’s a game to make them as creative as possible. Take for example, this one, celebrating a closed transaction with a hospital:
By far, my favorite way to celebrate is with a ‘way to go!’ in the heat of the final moment of the deal. I’ve seen this done in a few ways. One office would ring an old ship’s bell at the conclusion of a successful deal. Some offices would ring the bell when a broker brought in a new client (which leads to more deals).
I’ve seen other offices which had makeshift sirens installed, and the siren was switched on to celebrate meeting a goal or closing a deal or signing a client.
Now that I am working my way out of real estate and into church ministry, I find myself wondering if there are similar celebrations in our relationship with God. I think the answer is “yes, but ….” When we baptize, we celebrate the expanded family of Christ. We celebrate weekly worship with traditional hymns and liturgy. We finish our bible study, or Sunday morning class, by attending lunch or dinner together as a group.
So yes, we celebrate.
But let me ask you this – and it’s important – what is it in your relationship with God that gives you the feeling of ringing a ship’s bell? Or the glee of turning on the siren? Or, if you had a snippet of “Hallelujah Chorus” on your phone, the joy to blast the music at full tone, because you are so excited about something?
Is it prayer? Is it music? Is it teaching, or giving, or healing, or pursuit of justice? Or maybe a few in the list?
Those ‘things,’ my friends – those are your spiritual gifts. Do you know yours? I’m sure there is a more proper definition for the term ‘spiritual gifts,’ but let’s try this:
Spiritual Gifts are those gifts which, when activated and utilized, turn us into Bell Ringers for God.
‘Bell Ringers for God.’ I kind of like that. And I know, with the talent we have in this world, we could form a huge choir of master Bell Ringers.
This Sunday is Stewardship Sunday at many United Methodist Churches around the world; we will be asked to share our pledge of time, money and talents for the next church year. Consider the list, and answer this for me: Where can you be involved to make you a Bell Ringer for God?
See you by the bell, my friends! Let’s ring it together, every day!