If you were amputated, would it matter?

The Apostle Paul writes to the church why each person is individually gifted by the Spirit:

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

-1Cor 12:7

So, each one of us has been given a unique “spiritual gift,” but why? Well, Paul says that at least one reason for that is for the “common good.” That is, you are not gifted for yourself. You were not saved and empowered only for yourself, God has a job for you to do, and it’s a job to be done within the church.

If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.

-1Cor 12:15

Paul uses the analogy of a “body” for the church, and specifically the (in this case Corinthian) local church. Do you feel like you’re not a very important part of your church? Well, that doesn’t change the fact that you are (or, more accurately, you SHOULD be). Every member is important, whether they feel like it our not, every person is a vital piece in the puzzel that God has in the mission of each local church congregation, regardless if they think they are “gifted enough” or not.

Maybe you feel like you are not integral part of your church because you have not taken full advantage of the giftedness and ministry that God has given to you, maybe you’ve never thought of it that way. Maybe you’ve always thought of church as “somewhere you go” rather than the body within which you serve.

How many Sundays a year do you skip? Think of it this way, how many weeks of work could you miss in a row before someone said “Hey, where’s <insert name here>.” How many weeks of vacation do you take from work each year? Two? maybe Three? Now how many weeks of church do you skip each year?

“Well that’s different, I have to go to work, that’s how I get paid…”

Really? Why do you have to make as much money as you do? We’ve all made choices in our lives. What if you lived in a home with half the mortgage (or half the rent)? What if you had paid cash for your car(s), and bought a car half the price? Would you then have to work as much as you do?

Don’t get me wrong, work, go for it, and work hard as though you are working for God (because you are cf. Col 3:23f), but if you work so much that you can’t spend time with your church body, are you working “for the Lord?” Which is more important, our money or our church family? Maybe that’s why so many don’t step-up into a vital ministry in their church because they don’t want that responsibility, maybe they enjoy vacations too much (and work won’t let them off).

How vital of a body part are you?

Are you the hands and feet of your church providing real ministry to others, or are you an appendix that no one really knows why you are there?

Are you the eyes and ears of your church looking for and listening to the needs of others, or are you the tonsils that become an irritation if they hang around too long?

Are you the heart or mouth of your church proclaiming the gospel to the world, or are you the gallbladder that can be toxic if not removed?

You are gifted to serve as a vital part of your church. If you realize it or not, there is a ministry for you at your church that cannot function without you. Let me encourage you to rethink the amount of time you spend with your church body. It’s not about attendance, the “roll” will not actually “get called up yander” – what it is about is you becoming an indispensable part of your church, that’s who we are all called to be.

This probably doesn’t mean taking over something that’s already happening at your church, but more likely it’s an opportunity for you to create a new ministry that will lead people closer to Jesus, what an exciting idea!

So, I guess the question isn’t “did you miss 2-weeks in a row this year…”, rather the question should be “could you miss 2-weeks in a row this year…?”. If you can, then perhaps God is calling you to “step-it-up” a bit. When you are not there, it’s not whether or not anyone notices, it’s about whether or not you’ve made yourself such in integrated part of your church body that they can’t fully function without you… that’s how important your giftedness is… that’s God’s plan for you…

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

-1Cor 12:27

About John Harris

I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

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