Every member of the Body of Christ is essential and every member has a spiritual gift, chosen by God, especially for them. The health and proper function of the Body of Christ relies on every part... well, doing it's part. Every member fulfilling their role.
Our Pastor delivered a great message out of Ephesians 4:7-16, this morning. He spoke about finding your spiritual gift and using it. I can attest to the fact that I am never better than when I am operating in my gift. I believe my main gift is teaching God's word and when I am doing that, I am at my best. I am not the best Bible teacher, but I am the best version of me when I am teaching. This has nothing to do with my ability or lack thereof, it has everything to do with being obedient to the calling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. I do not say any of this to draw attention to myself or anything I do, but to make the point of how important it is to be who God made you to be.
This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in an outreach in the homeless community. The two brothers I went with were gifted as evangelists. Being with then and listening to them naturally share with people made me realize how much I am not gifted in the area of evangelism. I did not feel badly nor am I discouraged as I recognize my gifting is not in evangelism.(this does not excuse me from sharing my faith, as our Pastor pointed out) I have a different gifting which is just as valid and important, as the gifts God has given to every believer.
The two mistakes we often make is elevating some gifts above others, and expecting everyone to operate in one specific gift(usually evangelism). In today's message, we saw from Ephesians 4:16 how every one of us, operating in our gift, is necessary for the body to function. As I pondered this, I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 12:22-24 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. There are essential organs and ligaments, without which, our bodies would cease to function. These parts are protected by our skin and bones and are never meant to be exposed or displayed. Just so, many believers have roles that are best carried out under the cover and protection of other believers. This is a difficult thing, as many time, we destroy or banish the weak among us. When we deem someone's gift or role as unnecessary or even a nuisance, we rob the body of an essential function. There are also parts of our bodies that we do not put on public display, parts we refer to as our "private" parts. We protect certain areas of our body for modesty sake, yet we would not be willing to part with those parts... In the body of Christ, some people may, by gifting, fall into the category of "private" part. People who need extra care and attention, yet are vital to the healthy function of the Body of Christ.
I have, in the past, been part of a church that valued only productive members and any one who became needy or "a burden" were marginalized and ultimately driven off. This was a grave error and led to many broken lives and ultimately, the failure on the part of the pastor to achieve his goals. Every member is vital and must be treated as such. If you have ever had an appendectomy, you know the pain involved in losing a "non-essential" part of your body. When we fail to recognize the unique and essential gifting of each member and when we fail to help each member recognize and operate in their gift, we are doing great spiritual harm to the Body.
It is necessary for every believer to study and learn to use their spiritual gift(s). Romans 12:4-8 is a great place to start. I firmly believe that everyone has at least one gift on that list. A spiritual gift assessment is also a great tool for discovering individual gifting. TAKE AN ASSESSMENT HERE
Discipleship is a key component in developing and using spiritual gifts. Get involved with a meaningful discipleship program or start one of your own. Feel free to contact me for a program I developed and implemented. I would love to share the material free of charge. If everyone operated in their gift, serving would be joyful. You know the the good feeling in your body when everything is functioning normally and you are healthy, this is what happens for the local church and the Body of Christ when we all do our part.
We must start viewing our brothers and sisters as vital and we need to assist each members we are gifted to assist. At the risk of being vulgar, imagine if your hand refused to take care of personal hygiene in the restroom. A nasty job, to be sure, but necessary for the proper health and function of the body. The same goes for the church, someone has to help care for the parts that cannot care for themselves so they can accomplish their role properly.
We are commanded, by scripture, to study to show ourselves approved unto God. What better way to kick off the new year than by developing a deeper relationship with God, utilizing your spiritual gift(s) and fulfilling your role in the Body of Christ? I promise you it will be a journey that you will never regret!