“Sweep before you mop!” These were some of the words of advice I gleaned from Mr. Freddie Davis, the father of Johnetta Davis Jones. Johnetta Jones and Joyce Penn were honored as “Women of the Year” during our Women’s Day program. Near the end of the program I was asked to offer a few words about each woman.
I began by talking about the parents of Johnetta and what great individuals and supporters of the church I found them to be. Johnetta grew up in the church, attended the after-school tutorial program that my mother founded, was confirmed in the first Confirmation of Faith Class that I led as an assistant minister of the church and later confirmed her children into the faith. Johnetta serves the church as a leader of our Faith, Fun and Fitness Committee, the College Connection and the Media Tape/DVD Ministry. She is an accomplished professional, but finds time to give back to God through the sharing of her gifts.
Joyce Penn was also honored as a “Woman of the Year.” Joyce is a cousin to my wife. When Denise and her sister, Teri, were girls, Joyce would stop by after school to check on the two sisters because both of the parents were at work. Joyce is a retired nursing supervisor at Children’s Hospital. She teaches nursing now on the faculty at Davenport University.
Joyce is the Co-superintendent of the Sunday School. Many of the children know her as the “Woman who brings the snacks.” But, Joyce does much more. She is part of the leadership team which includes Victoria Barnes that gives direction to the Sunday School. Without seeking a lot of attention, Joyce is helping to lay the spiritual foundation for positive growth and development in our children.
For several years, during my Annual Pastor’s Memorial Day Bike Ride, Joyce rides in the “Redemption Vehicle”, which is my car, with a first aid kit to bandage any person who takes a fall.
As I think of Johnnetta and Joyce, I am reminded of all the places in the Bible where we are taught to share our gifts with others. I have chosen one verse from the First Letter of Peter, but it would have been just as easy to pick a verse from another part of the Bible. As you read this verse, I encourage you at ask yourself, “What is holding me back from sharing my gifts to help someone else?
1 Peter 4: 10 Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received
Questions for Reflection:
- What are some of the reasons why we refrain from serving one another with our God given gifts?
- When has someone served you with one or more of their gifts?
- How is the sharing of gifts reflective of what Jesus expects of you and me?
Lord, grant me grace as I share with others what you have given to me. Teach me to be humble and respectful, even as I bless others in some way, form or fashion. Help me to be observant. Fill me with a sense of kindness. As you have given to me, encourage me to remember the poor, the tired, the young, the old and sick and any others whom I might provide a blessing. And, as I bless others, O Lord, in your divine providence, bless me and my family. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Clifford Rockefeller
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Hood at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Pe 4:10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.