My sister broke her wrist the other day. She has a cast on her right arm that starts at her fingers and ends above her elbow. She had no idea how important her right arm was until she couldn’t use it!
The other morning, she couldn’t grasp the cap on her water bottle with her fingers to twist it open. “And since I can’t bend my elbow,” she says, “something as simple as getting dressed is a challenge—not to mention curling my hair, driving, cooking, typing and all the other daily tasks I’ve always taken for granted. I had no idea how much I need my right arm!”
If you’ve ever had a part of your body immobilised, then you know what my sister is going through.
You’re Part Of A Body
The apostle Paul likens the church to the human body. In 1 Corinthians 12:12, Paul said, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts,” and in verse 27 he said, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
So when you become a Christian, you become a part of the body of Christ. You belong and you are needed!
“Me, needed?” you ask. “I’m not needed. There are plenty of talented people who can do more than I can.”
But according to the Bible, every person plays a vital part and the Holy Spirit has given each one gifts to use.
So what is the body of Christ? According to Paul, it’s the church. In Colossians 1:18 he said that Jesus is “the head of the body, the church.” So the group of people you worship with every week is Christ’s “body,” as is the larger, worldwide church.”
But what’s your part? The answer is simple: your part is to serve both inside and outside your church. And you serve by using the unique gifts that God has given you.
Paul explained it clearly when he wrote, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leading, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:4–8).
You may think that you can’t serve because you’re not perfect. But none of us is. Jesus’ disciples certainly weren’t perfect.
You may think that you can’t serve because you don’t have any gifts. But you do! Stop and think about what your passion is. What do you do well? Why not use those abilities within your church and community?
You may think that your gift isn’t important. But all the gifts are needed in order for the body of Christ to work well.
You may think that someone else can do the job better. But if we all thought that way, nothing would get done!
A Unique Orchestra
There’s a Christian school in the US that has a unique orchestra. What makes it special is its purpose.
“We use our orchestra to demonstrate the body of Christ—the church,” the school’s principal tells me. “The students have learned that everyone has to do their own part or the entire orchestra suffers. All must do their own job, yet they must also look out for each other. We teach our kids that if they see someone who’s struggling, they can serve by encouraging them.”
She goes on to say that the orchestra focuses on this text in 1 Corinthians 12:21–23: “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour.”
The principal says, “Garrett is a perfect example of how we help each student find their own unique gift and use it to make up one body.”
Garrett was born with a severe cleft palate. By the time he was in the fifth grade, he had undergone 15 major surgeries. He had been the victim of severe bullying at his former school, so his mum called this principal, begging for Garrett to be accepted as a student.
“When I met Garrett, he wouldn’t even look at me,” the principal says. “He constantly had his face to the floor. He walked through the halls that way, ate his lunch that way and sat in class that way. He felt that he was absolutely ugly because that’s what he had been told.”
The school decided to see how Garrett would go with playing the cello. It would be a big instrument for a boy with such little self-worth. Amazingly, after he was made a part of the school body, he gained a sense of pride. And the rest of the body—the other students—encouraged him and built him up.
“Almost instantly, Garrett’s head began to raise,” the principal tells me excitedly. “And within just a few months’ time, he was not only touring with the orchestra but also giving his testimony during concerts! He was a shrivelled-up onion when he came to us. But Garrett realised that he had a gift to contribute and found a place where he belonged.”
Imagine what our world would be like if each member felt that they were a part of the larger body; if they were using the gifts that God has given them.
No Gift Too Small
The Bible says that we all “have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Romans 12:6). And that’s true of you too. You have a gift. And if you’re not sure what that gift is, ask God to make it clear to you.
Never think that your gift is unimportant or insignificant. Everyone is needed. In God’s eyes, there are no insignificant gifts.
I know a pastor who offered a workshop for church members who wanted to learn how to share their faith with others. One of the exercises was to go to a willing church member’s home and practise telling that person about Jesus.
One woman, a shy but dedicated member, attended the classes and felt that she was ready to give witnessing a try. So the pastor accompanied her to a member’s home. In this particular home, only the wife was a Christian. She’d tried for years to get her husband to come to church, but he never would.
When the pastor and the shy woman entered the house, the husband moved to the farthest corner of the living room. The woman’s “practise” witnessing to this man’s wife didn’t go well. In fact, it was almost embarrassing. The pastor silently hoped that she wasn’t offending the husband.
Then it came time for the shy woman to ask the church member, “Do you want to accept Jesus as your Saviour?”
The pastor was shocked when from across the room the husband interjected, “I do!” He’d been listening the whole time. And although this woman didn’t appear gifted in communication, the Holy Spirit used her to touch this man’s heart.
This story goes to show that using our God-given gifts is never about us. It’s about being a part of the body. It’s about doing what we can to change the world around us. And it’s about giving back to Jesus, who gave His all for us.