Why is it that some of God’s teachings are so easy for us to accept while other of His teachings we blatantly ignore? You know what I mean. “Thou shall not lie”, or “Thou shall not commit adultery”. Laws like these are pretty easy for most of us to obey, even when we’re being tempted to sin in that area. However, when Paul says in I Cor. 12:4-7 that EVERY believer has a spiritual gift of some kind, some of us find that truth hard to believe. Why? I wonder if it’s a matter of pride within our own heart. Are we so puffed up in our own accomplishments and ways of doing things that we fail to see the spiritual gifts of God in other workers on the field, including the nationals? A false humility looks an awful lot like pride to me.
Take a few minutes to read all of I Cor.12. Here are a few highlights that caught my attention. “There are different kinds of gifts…different kinds of service…different kinds of working, but the same God works ALL of them in ALL men” (or women). “Now the body (church) is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.’ The eye can not 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…”! Do you see that? The weaker parts are “indispensable”! (And you thought you had nothing to give the Lord!) Try to go through your morning with your eyes shut tightly. Try to hang your laundry out and never use your thumbs. Try to run a race with a bruised big toe. Although we could fumble through life without sight, thumbs or toes, life is so much better, and a whole lot less painful, when the weaker parts of our body are fully functioning, doing their job just as God created them to do it. The same is true of you, me and the entire worldwide body of Christ. I believe that one thing missing on some mission fields is the ability of the team to allow each other to simply do their job with their God-given talents just the way God created them to do it. Maybe an idea is new and has never been done that way before—so what?! It’s very possible your visionary friend sees something you don’t. Why not give her idea a try if it’s feasible? What would happen if a member of your team was offered a paying job outside your global work? I would hope you could encourage her and see that job as another window of opportunity to share the Gospel with the lost around her. Not all of us are gifted to be doctors, nurses, preachers or teachers.
Take a little time to examine your heart. Do you freely allow your co-workers to use the talents God gave them or do you try to restrict others with your self-imposed idea of what a global worker is supposed to do, be or act like? If your co worker has gifts and talents that you weren’t given by God, that’s OK! The more talents there are on the field, the more people we can reach for Christ! People who would never open their heart to me may very well find you the most consoling person they ever met. The “ABILITY TO HELP OTHERS” (vs. 28) is a great, but often overlooked gift. If your child is in rebellion, think what a comfort you’ll be to the parent who feels all alone with a prodigal son or daughter. If your aging parents tell you your duty is to be home taking care of them, but you know God wants you in Timbuktu, a friend who has also experienced that pain will be of great comfort. If you like to cook, think what a hot meal or a batch of fresh cookies would mean to a new mother, especially with the national you’re trying to befriend.
I really like vs. 28 that says, “…in the church God has appointed…apostles…prophets…teachers… workers of miracles…healing…those able to help others…administration and …tongues”.
Each of us has a God-given spiritual gift. If you don’t know yet what your gifts are, pray and ask God to reveal it to you. And, start looking at what naturally appeals to you, like having people in your home. That natural bent might mean you have the gift of hospitality! If you have gotten lazy in using your gift(s), repent, then dust them off and get started again. If you use your gift(s) faithfully for the Lord but you’re just exhausted, rest a little—then get back to the work the Lord gave you to do. Time is running out for people to accept the Lord’s salvation. Remember, the weaker parts of the body are indispensable and NO gift is too small or unimportant for our great God to use!
View the original print magazine where this article was first published.