By Katrina Bergman, Bethel Seminary St. Paul
Most of you reading this probably have a fairly clear idea of what your spiritual gifts are. It is likely that you have spent a good portion of your life exercising gifts like teaching and preaching, among others things. Sure, it might have taken you a little while to grow into a certain level of comfort with those gifts, and maybe you are still figuring a lot of things out, but you know that you belong in the church and generally where you fit in.
This describes me as well. For most of my life I have been in front of people in the church. Early on it was performing music, acting, and acts of service. Later on it also expanded to include praying, teaching and then preaching. However, I have sat across the living room from people who are desperately trying to figure out where they fit into the body of the church. Whenever a sermon or lesson is preached on 1 Corinthians 12 they begin to squirm in their chair, or feel a deep sense of disappointment, maybe even shame, because they don’t sing, or teach, or preach, or speak great words of wisdom. Can their role really be to just sit and listen? Surely not.
No one wants to be loved for his or her money.
I have heard many pastors and teachers try to console these people that they can give of their finances, and certainly there are some who have the gift of giving, but there is something about that idea that makes them uncertain. It kind of leaves them feeling…well…used. And what if they are not fiscally blessed? What then? Perhaps you have not had someone questioning God’s love for them because they cannot see their value in the body of Christ because they do not seem to have a spiritual gift, but I have.
The church is not for itself.
We are not meant to live in our little church vacuum that ignores everything around us that is not obviously a part of the church. In Proverbs 11:10 we read: “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices.” Tim Keller calls this rejoicing the city, and he insists that the Bible teaches that God’s righteous people are meant to do just that. And one of the ways we do that is with our work. And when we are doing our work well and in a way that honors God, we are also living out our a part of our role as the body of Christ.
But can my work really be my role in the body?
“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Cor. 12: 7) All of us are given work to do. Every single one of us. And it is in this work that we an opportunity to be salt and light to the rest of the world. It is in our work that many of us have an opportunity to be Christ to the world. And the church should be working to equip the body in creatively honoring God in its work as well as disciplining them in knowledge of God and the Bible.
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