“As each one has received a gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God…so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
(1 Peter 4:10-11)
The fact that “each one” has a gift reminds me of one of my family’s favorite days of the year: Christmas Eve. In my husband’s family, an Italian family, Christmas Eve is unparalleled when it comes to the amount of food that is served. What makes it incredible is that every person has a “speciality,” their very own special contribution that over the years, they have become known for bringing. Some dishes are time consuming and difficult to make while others (like the ones I bring!) are simple yet delicious. When put together, the spread of food is unlike anything I’ve ever seen! The amazing thing, however, is that regardless of how much food there is, if one person’s dish is not there – whether fancy or simple, complex and time consuming to make or not, it is greatly missed. It doesn’t seem quite the same.
It is not unlike the gifts given to God’s children, by His Spirit, for His purpose: no matter how many other people are employing their gifts and no matter how simple or ordinary yours may seem – YOU matter, YOU have a purpose, YOU have a gift, a “speciality” – that HE gave you for HIS glory. Bring it! Contribute it! If you are a child of God, you have a gift. YOU are part of the body of believers and are to function as a member of the body of Christ. No believer possesses all of the gifts. How we need each other! EVERY member of the body of Christ is needed!
Just as those contributing to the Christmas Eve feast do not bring their dishes for their own enjoyment, but for the enjoyment of others, the gift He gives to each one is for the common good of the body, to give spiritual help to other believers, and to build up the church. It is NOT for personal gratification.
Indeed, spiritual gifts have two main purposes: to edify the saints and to glorify the Savior.
A story has been told of a piccolo player, who while in rehearsal one day heard the “trumpets blaring, drums rolling, and violins singing. He muttered to himself, ‘What good am I doing? I might just as well not be playing. Nobody can hear me anyway.’ So he kept the instrument to his mouth, but he made no sound. Within moments, the conductor cried, ‘Stop! Stop! Where’s the piccolo?’ It was missed by the ear of the most important person of all.” (author unknown)
How easy it is to conclude, like the piccolo player, that our part doesn’t even matter. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth!
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-5)
Notice how often we see “different….different….different” yet “same Spirit….same Lord….same God.” How often the unrenewed mind misinterprets “different” into meaning better, more valuable, more important or worse, less valuable, less important. The piccolo player mistakingly thought, and therefore wrongly concluded, that his contribution didn’t matter. How tragic when a member of the body of Christ falls prey to the same way of thinking!
“Don’t throw it away, it will be a perfect fit for another earring,” I said to my daughter as we looked on the floor for an earring back that was too big and had fallen off. It was’t the right fit, for this particular pair, anyways. It would, however, be just the right fit for another pair. Just because we aren’t a “good fit” in one area does not mean that we won’t be a “perfect fit” in another. It does not mean that we have nothing to offer, are useless, or should feel discarded. Paul reminded his readers in 1 Corinthians 12 that the Holy Spirit is active and involved in all of the gifts; that He determines who will receive which particular gifts. Every believer is given just the right gift to accomplish her God ordained purpose, for the building up of the Body of Christ. No believer should feel unimportant or unnoticed by God. Nor should competitiveness or division set in, as was happening at Corinth. We each have our “perfect fit” in the body of Christ.
Max Lucado wrote, “The Spirit has given EACH OF US a special way of serving others. Enough of this self deprecating I can’t do anything. And enough of its arrogant opposite: I have to do everything. No, you don’t! Imitate Paul who said our goal is to stay within the boundaries of God’s plan for us (2 Corinthians 10:13 NLT). Don’t worry about skills you don’t have. Don’t covet strengths others do have. Just extract your uniqueness, stir up the gift of God which is in you (2 Timothy 1:6) and do so to make a big deal about God! Everything comes from Him and exists for Him. We exist to exhibit God, to display His glory. We serve as canvases for His brush stroke, papers for His pen, soil for His seeds, glimpses of His image.”
Just as the piccolo was missed by the ear of the most important person of all, remember in serving, in utilizing our gifts, who the most important One of all truly is! Pleasing Him – that’s enough! Glorifying Him – that’s what it’s all about!
May we be women who are faithful with the gifts we have been given. Women who aren’t striving but serving in the power He has provided. Women who bring their speciality to the feast and know that there is a perfect fit for them somewhere, to the glory of God. Each of us have been given a gift. You are a vital part of the body of Christ. Don’t keep your gift to yourself but rather use it for His glory and to please the most important One of all!