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Not without You

This week's Narrative Lectionary reading is from 1 Corinthians 12.  

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. - 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (ESV)

In the verses prior to this, Paul describes how each person is created, gifted, and talented in unique ways for a variety of roles and services.  In these concluding sentences Paul is encouraging us that we each have a role to play in the church body.  We may all be wired a little different, but God brought us together to work as a single unit.

Have you ever considered what the larger body is missing when you step away or hold back?  There is only one of you, and you have been uniquely gifted for some purpose in the church body.  If you don't find it, or if you opt out of service, the church body is missing a vital part of itself.  It may limp along, but it will never be what it could be without you.

I started beekeeping several weeks ago, so I have been learning a lot about bees.  Did you know there are all kinds of different honey bees?  The queen, the workers, and the drones are the ones you can visually tell apart.  The worker bees can then be broken down into all sorts of different jobs: guard bees, nurse bees, gathering bees, builder bees, etc.  If any one of these roles were to disappear, the hive would die off in a week.  The same could be said of the church.  Some of us are wired to love and pastor the congregation, others to care for the sick, some to teach, to praise and worship, raise children, mentor teens, greet people with a smile, guide newcomers, go on mission trips, feed the hungry, etc.  The roles in the church are nearly infinite, and not confined to what happens in the building.  Some of you are wired to encourage your peers at work, others to love on your neighbors, to throw block parties, to adopt a child, etc.  These too, are all valid expressions of the gifts of God to God's church.  If you opt out, the Church Universal will never be the same.

If you are already serving the church body, on or off the property, officially or unofficially, I thank you and bless you for your efforts.  You are valued and treasured for what you offer, even if it feels like what you are doing is going unnoticed.  If you are not yet serving, I know it can be daunting to discover your gifts, talents, or roles.  Many people suggest spiritual inventories, or personality tests to aid in finding a role.  Do that if you wish, however, I want you to try something this week.

Each morning pray for God to open your eyes to the needs God has placed before you.  Each evening think about the day and consider the things that stirred your heart.  Did anything make you sad, mad, excited, or joyful?  Any strong emotion?  Write them all down.  Examine those things/times/activities for a theme.  At the end of the week I suspect you will have a list with a theme.  You may feel ill equipped to do anything about them, but God often calls us beyond our abilities.  God's strength is displayed in our weakness.  Once we are faithful to serve, to step out in faith, God equips the called.

May God bless you for the gifts and talents you pour into the world, whatever outlet that may take. May you be filled with joy as you serve in the capacity you have been called to.  If you feel unsure about how to serve, may God provide you with peace, wisdom, and a burning bush to lead the way on a new journey of walking in faith.  Amen.


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