This past Sunday, we had church and before church, we have a short choir practice. Jason and I are choir partners. Jason came to practice with something on his mind. I said, “How are you doing?” He told me he wasn’t doing well. I ask him what was going on. He didn’t want to tell me, and honestly, I understand. It is hard to trust people in prison. There are a whole bunch of men in here that did stupid things. A lot of them deny it, lie about it, and a lot aren’t trustworthy people. They are the worst at spreading your baggage around. Now I know that I wouldn’t do that to anyone in here or outside. If someone wants to share something deep, it will stay between the two of us. However, Jason doesn’t know me well enough to know that I won’t reveal him and his problems. I didn’t bug him to tell me.
So I did what I know best… try and cheer him up! A lot of the encouraging parts of my personality, I give credit to my grandfather, or “Pops”, like I call him. He can cheer anyone up. And what I did on Sunday in choir reminded me of something Pops would have done. One time, during choir, Pops and I were singing a hymn and he wasn’t looking at a hymnal. He forgot the words and started singing “watermelon” over and over again. I lost it. After the hymn was over, Pops told me that if I ever forget the words, to just sing “watermelon.” I took his advice a couple of times over the years. Never got caught! Ha!
Well, my story about Jason isn’t as funny, but what I did was bold. We were singing a song called “Trading my Sorrows”. The lyrics go something like this (but not exactly): “I’m trading my sorrows, I’m trading my shame. I’m trading my pain for the Joy of the Lord.” All of a sudden, I went all “Kirk Franklin” in the middle of the song. Kirk Franklin is a famous gospel artist. He is a singing preacher! After each line, I turned to Jason and shouted an echo line. “I’m trading my sorrows.” “Come on, Jason, trade your sorrows!” “Come on trade your shame” “Come on trade your pain” then I repeated “for the Joy of the Lord”
I kept doing it through the whole song. He was laughing and smiling. It was like no one else heard me, and I am pretty loud. After the song, he said, “You know how to cheer me up.” I realized that my gift is to encourage people. We had a conversation. I told him that it was a new day, and whatever it was, hand it over to God. He seemed more positive. What is your spiritual gift?
Read Romans 12: 1-8