May 10, 2022
Same Team: The Gifts of the Church Body
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"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV)
"Same team! The SAME team," I yelled with hands cupped around my mouth, willing my voice to reach the ears of the peewee players on the court. It was the last game of the season, with minutes on the clock, and tensions were high to score that final basket.
My husband and I had spent many practices drilling the importance of teamwork into each player. When they made a basket, we celebrated the team, not just the individual, explaining that every player had a part in scoring. One person stole the ball, and the other dribbled it down the court while another guarded an opponent. Next, a pass to a teammate under the goal and finally swoosh - nothing but net!
Nonetheless, the only player who appeared to matter at all was the one who made the basket. In their desire to be in the spotlight, players hogged the ball, pushed others and sometimes stole the ball out of the hands of their own teammates. If only they worked together, I thought, the team could accomplish so much more!
And then I felt the familiar prick of conviction exposing areas of my life where I engage in this same behavior.
Do I look for opportunities to assist others in ministry, or do I want to be in the "service spotlight"?
There have been times I've declined an opportunity to serve behind the scenes because I worried my work would go unrecognized.
Do I believe that working together with the body of believers for the Kingdom is better than my own success?
Outwardly, I've cheered on my brothers and sisters in Christ, but inwardly, I've wrestled with feelings of jealousy and discontentment.
Do I think my talents and gifts are more valuable than those of other members of my church?
Sometimes I've become focused on what I am achieving for the Lord instead of what the Lord wants to achieve through me for His glory, not mine.
In his first letter to the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul outlined the role of believers in the early Church. Likening the church body to the human body, he encouraged Christians to accept their unique roles, for they worked together to help the entire body function properly. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) God created each body part with a specific job, equally important; one couldn't exist without the other. Paul pointed to this truth when he said, "Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason stop being part of the body" (1 Corinthians 12:15, NIV).
The same is true for the body of believers. God gives His children spiritual gifts to serve the Church and bring Him glory. Our service works in tandem with individuals possessing other purposes, coming together as many parts functioning as one body.
Our key verse reminds us that we are the body of Christ here on earth, and each one of us is valuable and vital: "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it" (1 Corinthians 12:27).
What a gracious blessing from our heavenly Father! We don't have to feel overlooked or compete for the "best servant award" because we all play a vital part in a healthy Church. Every person matters to God, and each person’s role is valuable. Our diverse talents work together for a common goal: to know God and make Him known.
We can joyfully contribute because all service is valuable and important in God's economy.
We can genuinely cheer on our friends and co-laborers in Christ because we know that God has uniquely gifted them to serve Him. Their talents don't extinguish ours - we ignite one another.
We can see the value in each person, not for what they do but who they are: a child of God.
May this encourage us as we serve and support the "teams" of believers that make up the body of Christ in our local churches.
Heavenly Father, thank You for granting us spiritual gifts. May we seek to bring You honor and serve the Church well with our talents. Help us remember we are all valuable and needed for the body to function healthily. We love You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Ephesians 4:16, "from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love." (ESV)
How does knowing that you are uniquely gifted to serve in the body of Christ change how you view your role in the Church?
We'd love to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
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