I have been discussing spiritual gifts during this Pentecost season. This week I would like to talk about the gift of Mercy. Simply put, those who possess this spiritual gift are drawn to caring for people who are experiencing physical or emotional needs. These are the people who are the first to ask how they can help when someone has died, or gone to the hospital, or is experiencing a crisis. They frequently know the right thing to say, can sit with grief or pain for a long period of time with someone, and have a prayer life that is rich with intercessory prayers for others. Those blessed with the gift of Mercy are often deacons or work closely with them.
The real challenge for those who possess this gift are individuals who are constantly seeking care and attention because of their personality or life circumstance and may have issues with personal boundaries. The abundance of kindness and patience can be a powerful draw for people, and those who are regularly practicing this gift in their ministry need their own sources of support, and even intentional training to prevent boundary issues and burnout.
This is particularly necessary during a time such as we are experiencing now, when more and more people are facing personal crises: unemployment, isolation, illness, and depression. We as a community of faith depend on our Mercy-providers, but we must also cherish and care for them as well.
Yours in Christ,