Christmas is around the corner (only 121 shopping days left), and like some of you, I always try to get an early start on my Christmas shopping. So I make a list of family and friends I buy for, and try to come up with that one perfect gift for everyone. But often, like most honest intentions, I’m left scrambling at the last minute to buy something for those on my list. In this way, the idea of gifts, and gift giving, becomes a rather stressful chore. But what about those gifts you can’t buy in the store? Such as the ones mention by Paul in Romans 12:1-8:
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God–what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.”
Here Paul is giving us a set of instructions……..some words to live by, if you will. First we must present ourselves to be “holy and acceptable to God”, which is our worship. When are then told to not be a conformist, but to allow God’s grace and love to change us, to become something “good and acceptable and perfect”. Next, Paul cautions us to never think too highly of ourselves. That we all are individual, each person unique because He made us. Though we are one body, one body of Christ, we are many, each of us serving a role.
This is where I think it gets interesting. And speaks to me personally. As in any business, corporation, or Church, not everyone has the same role, or job. If this were so, nothing would get done. So we all agree, everyone has to play their part, do their assigned job, in order for things to get accomplished. Paul is detailing how though we are all God’s children, we are all very different. By grace each person is given a gift (or role), which enables them to fulfill their purpose here on earth.
So what are the gifts: prophecy, ministry, teacher, exhorter, giver, leader, compassionate. How do we know which gifts we have received? We pray, we listen, and we read and study. Now what do we do with these gifts? Here is the hard part. Just as a business needs many people doing different jobs, so does a Church or ministry. So what is our role? This is a difficult issue for some people to understand. One person can not do it all, but yet often times this is the case. Or what happens, one person feels upset because they are not doing what someone else is doing, thinking their role is not as important. But this isn’t true. God gave you gifts, so I can imagine He expects you to use them to fulfill your particular role in the body of Christ. You are not to compete with others, to feel superior, or inferior, in your assigned role. You have a purpose, and your divine gifts, will enable you to do what you must do, as a child of our heavenly Father.