For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with yourfaith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:4-8
On my way to an appointment the heavens opened up, and a torrential downpour ensued. Gripping the steering wheel in utter fear, I attempted to navigate my way through the monsoon. As the rain came down in sheets, I flipped on my windshield wipers in hopes of achieving at least some visibility.
Rather than push the rain away, the dangling remnants of plastic simply smeared it on my windshield. With procrastination being my spiritual gift, I hadn't got around to replacing them. I figured it was no big deal. Since my car worked just fine (as much as a 2002 Ford Focus can) and it had been sunny over the past few weeks, rushing out for new windshield wipers didn't seem pressing. However, at the moment when I needed them the most, I realized how detrimental their absence was to my safety. On I drove into the abyss, and since you are reading this, you know I survived the floods.
Romans 12 speaks to the fact that God has given each of us unique gifts, talents and passions. Yet, if we are honest, some of us are guilty of comparing our gifts (or supposed lack thereof) to others’ gifts, and pondering why we received the short end of the stick. This questioning paralyzes us and keeps us from being a contributor and owning the mission.
Feelings of inadequacy can quickly lead us into believing our part doesn't matter or our lack of participation won’t be missed. When we use these excuses to sit on the sidelines and not leverage our gifts, talents and time, it shows we've developed a windshield wiper mindset. This piece of car equipment doesn’t get the respect it deserves. A million pieces make up my car. There are those parts which have a more prominent role like let's say an engine, brakes or flux capacitor (that's a thing, right?).
But without all the other nuts, bolts, hoses, wires and gauges working correctly, the car can be bound to sit at the mechanics rather than do what it is intended to do - be out on the open road. The 12th chapter of Romans goes on to show how each individual’s contribution ultimately determines the overall effectiveness of the entire body.
Each part matters. For the first-time visitor who is giving God one last shot, your part matters. For the teenager who is struggling to navigate through adolescence, your part matters. For those desperate to find community, your part matters. For the people you lead at work, your part matters. For the difficult issues facing our community and world, your part matters. For a culture spinning out of control, your part matters.
The church creates movement and momentum when every person remains engaged. Don't allow feelings of inadequacy or insignificance to rain down and cloud your view of your contribution. Wipe away those fears and doubts by jumping in and owning your part.
- Do you believe your contribution matters to the Body of Christ? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
- What excuses or justifications do you use to rationalize sometimes not owning your part?
God, help me to see that You placed within me gifts, talents and insight. Show me how I can use what I have for the good of Your Kingdom and the lives of those around me. May I own my part and see it as valuable and worthwhile. When discouragement sets in, remind me that I am part of something much bigger than myself. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.