Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Parts is parts

So, it seems like every time I sit down to read God's word lately, I am drawn to passages discussing the Body of Christ, the Church, its many members, not like how many people, but the roles and gifts in which we function, like actual body parts. The topic keeps coming up in different circles and certain scenarios remind me of the scriptures spelled out in regard to a smoothly operating body. You know, one body, many parts, spiritual gifts, living sacrifices.

I have witnessed many circles where people are enjoying the work or ministry in which they are involved. It comes naturally because that particular person was created by God to be an arm or a knee or an ear and they are functioning in it. Then, there are situations where I have encountered crusty, bitter, fried people who are really shoulders or elbows functioning in hand or foot mode. They wonder why everyone else isn't stepping up to the plate doing their part in the Church. They have strong opinions about how everyone should be serving and where and when and whom. Their passionate desire which initially started as a way to show God's love has now resulted in burnout and self-righteousness. And, of course, there are those who sit on their buns and think everything appears to be running smoothly so there is no need to get involved. Usually, this translates into two things; 1: laziness, or 2: a person literally has no clue how uniquely God has created them and they have never tasted the richness of touching someone else's life through their God-given gifts.

I do not pretend to have all the answers. I have been frustrated in the past when people aren't 'getting involved'. I had this idea of what using your gifts looked like and was blown when people weren't 'doing it.' I am guessing that when we are passionate about something that the guy next to us could give a rip about, that means he is passionate about something else, but that we are being led by God to do such and such.

Imagine, if everyone went overseas on missions, no one would be home to hear the gospel. What if every person served in children's church? There would be no one impacting the lives of the elderly or shut ins that suffer loneliness everyday. If every person were an evangelist, there would be a lot of people hearing about the life changing name of Christ, but they would all be babies in their faith because depth and discipleship have to follow evangelism.

The reality is that when we are all functioning in the part for which we were created, burnout levels should be low, self-righteousness should be nipped in the bud, and there would even be joy in serving. Not knowing what you are gifted in is not an excuse, either. It's quite simple...ask God to show you how He created you so that you can be used for His purposes in the earth. People choose vocations everyday based on what they are good at or what they enjoy. Ask God to reveal to you what you are good at and start doing that particular thing. You may be good at making soup. Make some at a shelter. You may love talking to people. Strike up a conversation with a stranger and let God's love do the rest. I admittedly get frustrated with the mentality that there has to be an organized, structured 'outreach' in order to share God's love. Wherever you go, even to the grocery store, we are lights for the Lord. The more we start functioning in the gifts God has given us, the more naturally we'll live in this skin. Not more comfortably. Naturally, the way God intended.

If you aren't a finger, you should not be pointing.

14 comments:

  1. Its a refreshing reminder that 1 person (being yourself) does not have to do it all! I feel that most women (including myself) oftentimes feel the need "make it happen" and you end up doing things you hate, are bitter about, and ultimately you are no good at, because you are working outside of what God wants you to do...using your gifts for Him!

    I have been asking God where I should serve in our new church. I've been filling in here and there, completely aware that it is not my gifting. I've been afraid to step out in what I think I need to do. But, this post made me realize that by doing that I am HINDERING the progress of the Kingdom. (Not that God isn't/can't work around me!!!)

    I must claim my part in the Body of Christ and serve whole-heartedly in the areas God has gifted ME to serve.

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  2. I hear your heart on this post. Thank you for articulating it so well.

    In my old church home, I had such a blast getting to experiment and try a bunch of different ministries. No one tried to pigeonhole me in children's ministry because they knew I was a teacher. They let me do other stuff - and even gave me total permission to try and fail or succeed. I discovered all sorts of areas I loved, and had such an incredible time learning that being a part of a team is awesome. (In Bible college, I'd really fought the idea of a team, thinking it was better to do things on my own.)

    Now, I'm married, living in a different country, and a part of a very unique church that is often very different than what I'd naturally gravitate toward. Here people pushed me into serving with the kids, and I ended up burning out, totally hating most of what I was doing. So I dropped out of that. Just the other day I realized I've become one of those people who isn't doing anything in their home church other than warming a seat and occasionally greeting someone next to them. While I serve a lot in my community and through my own writing, I don't serve directly in my church home. That makes me sad, but I have no idea where to begin. (If you knew our church home, you'd probably feel overwhelmed too. Nothing is really organized, and most of it is fly by the seat of your pants, unless you're in the music ministry, which I'm not.) So now I have to figure out what body part God wants me to be, and just exactly how He would like me to act as that part in this new church home He's given me.

    It's crazy, but I feel like I've been put in a time of learning and beginning all over again. I'm not quite sure why, but something tells me that God is on the move in my life, even if I can't understand or see the point right now. It was so much easier when I had that label - "knee" or "heel" or whatever. Now that I don't have a label or a specific place, it's a whole new lesson in trusting and watching God to see where in the world He's leading.

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  3. Amen Sister. I just love reading your writings. Thanks for sharing your heart and thoughts. Over and over I just think what an amazing woman of GOD you are. I feel blessed in the opportuntiy I have to know you.

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  4. Thank you, nicely put! It is fresh to read that! I get stuck in the rut of the need to have an 'organized mission'... and then i will go...go where? when really i could step outside my front door and make in impact for Christ. But, then could i go... i am perfectly capable to do so, and others are not. I need to be proactive, inline with where God has me...and where He is moving me.
    Smg

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  5. WOW, amen to that! :)

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  6. Just wanted to say thank you for your prayers today. I've been thinking so often about you too. Especially as I sit in a childrens' hospital. I know you understand where I'm at...and just how much comfort God gives at such times.
    It fuels my passion and strengthens my faith to be in such a place- trusting God- moment by moment.
    Your post is so right on, once again. God just needs willing hearts. He provides the means and opportunities.
    Chip and I are looking at some of these medical instances as our calling...'hospital ministry'.
    Sad, but I know I wouldn't 'sign up for it' if I had the choice. Humbling because God blesses our willingness to surrendar to Him. And He works though us. Even in ways we may never know.
    Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers.
    xoxo

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  7. we've never met, although we have mutual friends, adam & sara lazio. i heard about your journey through sara & her blog and was so touched by your story and noah's life. we also lost a son, although it was shortly after his birth. i am encouraged by your strength, spirit and faith. i pray your family is blessed of the lord and continues to feel his peace, love & grace as you continue forward in your journey of healing.
    kara stoltzfus (lancaster, pennsylvania)

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  8. Hi,
    My name is Michele and Iam married to Terry Hansen. He is Diane Tagg's cousin.
    I have been following your blog for a while now and just didn't know what to post.
    You and Your family are really strong and amazing to say the least.
    My daughter Rachel is in her first year of Med school at FSU. She wants to be a Peds Dr. SHe will make a difference in so many babies lives as she is loving and compassionate. Many Blessings to You all.
    Love Michele

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  9. loved this one! and totally agree. great post!

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  10. Wow...your post is totally what I needed to hear today...God is so good like that!
    Susan Simpson

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  11. Wow, timing is amazing in this post....
    My pastor asked me just last Sunday and I balked, to please lead the worship again at our church. I just don't feel like I have anything to give God right now.
    Now I am convicted dead and cold-center. Guess who will be singing in church this Sunday???
    Thanks for this I needed it.

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  12. Such good teaching. I think that since Jesus ascended to heaven and his body is no longer here on earth, now we the church are supposed to be the "body". I always picture this as a literal outline of the physical body of Christ, and we as His followers fill it up. If we don't accept our callings and destinies, then there is a piece of the "puzzle" missing and the world doesn't see the whole thing.

    Thanks for reminding us to find our calling, operate in that anointing, and be the beautiful expression of Jesus that only each of us can be!

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  13. Last night when reading Our Daily Bread I was reminded of what you wrote here. It went right along with it. I felt led to share it's link with you and what it said.

    http://www.rbc.org/odb/odb-01-17-08.shtml

    January 17, 2008
    Designed By God

    READ: Romans 12:3-8

    We have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function. —Romans 12:4

    Bison are made in such a way that their natural inclination is to look down; the design of their necks makes it difficult for them to look up. In contrast, giraffes are designed in a way that makes looking up easy; the way their necks were made makes it difficult for them to look down. Two creatures created by the same God but with distinctively different body parts and purposes. Giraffes eat leaves from branches above. Bison eat grass from the field below. God provides food for both, and neither has to become like the other to eat.

    As we observe the animals and people around us, we’re reminded that God made each of us unique for a purpose. One person’s natural tendency is to look up and see the “big picture,” while another looks down and focuses on details. Both are important. One is not better than the other. God gave us individual talents and spiritual gifts so that we can work together as a body.

    Human beings are the crowning jewel of creation, and we shine the brightest not when we see our own likeness reflected in others but when each of us performs the unique functions that God designed for us to do. “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them” (Rom. 12:6). —Julie Ackerman

    By God’s wise designing
    We are wonderfully made,
    Every part essential
    And in perfect balance laid.
    —Anon.

    There are no unimportant members in the body of Christ.

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  14. You have absolutely no idea how much I needed to hear this today. Thank you! Thank you! You are a mighty and effective instrument in the hand of God. Thank you for taking time to listen to His voice and for sharing.

    God Bless You!
    Dana

    P.S. We went to Russia together in '97 with TMM - you and your husband were my PDs. You impacted my life back then...and today. :)

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