May13WedMay 13, 2020
If this were a typical spring, our eldest son would have already had several baseball games by now. His sharp mind, quick reaction time and faithful glove make him well-suited for most positions in this team sport. However, since he is left-handed, he is commonly positioned in left field. This is not discouraging for him since he is still able to use his gifts for the team.
Although sports have been temporary put on hold for 2020, let’s consider them as a way of understanding parts of Romans 12. On athletic teams, there are many members, but not all have the same function. If each player keeps his or her pride in check, a team can function like “one body.” Harmony featuring unique talent, specific skills and assigned roles can emerge when all work together.
Spiritual communities, like churches or families, are designed by God to function in much the same way, according to Romans 12:3-8. Interdependent communities are part of God’s design for living a life of worship. If you are a Christian, then you are part of a team. Sorry, no free agents!
Unfortunately, it can be easy for Christians to believe that either they don’t have a way to contribute or that their talent really isn’t ‘crucial.’ If either lie lingers within a person’s mind, then they may never engage in the work of ministry which is set before them by God. There ends up being a big, gaping hole in “left field,” so to speak.
Verse 6, from our reading today, tells us that various talents come from God. They are not given because we are deserving, but because God is gracious. 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” Ephesians 4:7-8 makes a similar point. In other words, if you are a Christian, then God has given you, by His grace, a unique gift which is absolutely necessary for the building up of the body of Christ.
But what if you don’t know what your gift is and therefore are not sure how to put it into practice? I believe many feel this way. But God, in His mercy, has named many within Scripture. (See Rom. 12:6b-8, Eph. 4:11, 1 Peter 4:10-11 and 1 Cor. 12:8-10, 28-31). Some appear to be more “supernatural.” While others are for the sake of administration, leadership or serving. Regardless, you have at least one of these. Perhaps several!
If you struggle to know what your gift is and how it fits into the body of Christ, consider these two questions:
1) “When I’m seeking God and considering how to encourage someone’s faith, what Jesus-like passion seems to flow out naturally?”
Then, 2) “Does Scripture agree that this passion is God-given and can be used for the maturating or multiplying of Christ’s church?”
Once you answer these, you are at the beginning of identifying the gracious gift which has been given to you. Remember, all Christians are part of the team. So, how are you using your gift today? Gifts can be used, even while ‘sheltering in place!’
Lord, help us each to discover and use our unique skills to mature and multiply the Body of Christ, your Church. Amen!