Many Gifts but One Body
Open Your Bible
Romans 12:1-8, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, Ephesians 4:1-16
It is clear from these readings that Paul understood human nature. Even the early church suffered division, comparison, and judgment. Be encouraged; there is nothing new under the sun! Some had walked with Jesus in the flesh, and they still struggled with understanding how the body of Christ fits together.
Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever looked at the Instagram page of a dear sister and felt envy? Or maybe you feel you’ll never measure up to your own mother’s gifting? Does a difference in strengths cause conflict in your marriage? I know I’ve fallen prey to these types of thoughts.
Fitting together as one body is hard; it can be complicated and complex. Our sanctification is incomplete, so we are tempted toward jealousy and judgment. We look to our neighbors and think that if they just got on board with our ministry, the world would function better. We turn our noses up at a social media post by a friend because we think she isn’t doing the most important work.
Or we ruminate on the same type of judgment but in the opposite direction. We look at the portion God has given us and think we aren’t adequate. We can be tempted to wallow in pity that we aren’t as good at speaking, writing, or creating as that other woman. We think we could serve the kingdom better if we were more gifted at hospitality. Or maybe we’d be more important if God gave us a different set of gifts. Paul encourages us to mature by putting this type of thinking away (Ephesians 4:14).
As Romans makes clear, we are saved by grace through faith alone, but the fruit of that salvation will compel us to present our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).
Society will continually have us fighting over which cause, type of person, or set of gifting is greatest in the kingdom. We could change our opinion of who has value and what is worthwhile based on the whims of culture. Testing these conclusions against Scripture, giving the benefit of the doubt, and serving shoulder-to-shoulder with other believers is practicing Biblical discernment.
As God is faithful to grow and sanctify us, we can look at ourselves and each person in our life, thanking God for every gift. No one is insignificant in the kingdom of God. We can also look to our own hearts and ask the Holy Spirit to convict us of any division that we need to confess and seek forgiveness for.
Christ is the unifying head of our body—won’t he do it?