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A Parable about a Painter Reflects the Gifts of the Spirit

Once upon a time there was a famous house builder and painter. After designing the homes, he would then build and paint them. As a painter, he was such an amazing artist that he didn't even need drop cloths. He had a steady hand, and he was finicky about using good brushes and quality paint, so there were no drips, just tight trim lines.

This craftsman always designed, built and painted the homes all by himself—with his own hands … but then one day he had remarkable idea. As he was standing by one of his houses, he saw a bunch of kids walking home from the local elementary school. They were minding their own business, laughing and carrying their backpacks, until he shouted, "Hey, kids." When they looked up, startled and awestruck (because everyone in town knew about his amazing skills), he asked them a surprising question: "How would you like to do some painting?"

"What do you mean?"

"I'll tell you what," he said, "I'll give each of you a bucket of paint and a brush, and you can paint my new house. Do you want to give it a try?"

"For real?" they squealed with delight.

The painter nodded as he said, "Yep, for real."

"Cool!" the kids said.

He opened up the back of his truck and pulled out a load of brushes and paint cans and then pried open the paint cans. They started splashing paint on his garage door. They got paint on the sidewalk, too, and some on each other. But they also got a lot of paint on the house—all different colors, especially on the parts of the house that were under 4 feet high.

As other kids came by on the sidewalk, they asked, "Can we do that, too?" And they joined in. In about an hour most of the first floor was now covered with paint.

The house painter's neighbors came over after dinner and took it all in. "What is going on?" they asked. Another blurted out, "Look, I gotta be honest, your house looks like a tornado ripped through Sherwin-Williams. What were you thinking?"

"Well," the house painter said, "of course I could have painted this house all by myself, but I've always built and painted houses in order to bring joy to others. So based on that goal, this is the most beautiful house I've ever made. Then dozens of their friends will want to come to this house. They'll bring their friends to show what they've painted. And each one will say, 'This is the home of the master painter and builder, but it's also our house.'"

In the same way, when God the Father, the master creator and painter of the world, pours out his Holy Spirit on his followers, he hands every single one of us a can of paint and a brush, and he says, "Go to work. Use your gifts and let's paint a beautiful house for the world."

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