"We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully" (Romans 12:6-8)
There is incredible freedom in operating in your strengths. We were all created with specific purposes, talents and aptitudes. Those things are gifts from the Lord. He designed us to complement the body of Christ by our membership in it. We all have different functions but we belong to the same body. The many members make up the church and the church is the body of Christ.
In today's passage Paul is encouraging us to play to our strengths. We all have different gifts and talents according to the grace given us. So it makes sense that if we have the gift of prophesy we should use it to bless the body of Christ. If we are talented at teaching, then we should be teaching the word to others. If we have been given a servant's heart, then we should be operating within that calling. There are many gifts and each one is very important to the body of Christ.
Paul listed several things in these verses that are easily overlooked as gifts from the Lord. We readily recognize the more visible gifts such as prophecy, teaching and leadership. However, just as important are gifts like encouragement, generosity and showing mercy to one another. If the entire body clamored for the pulpit but disregarded other gifts such as encouraging a struggling member or serving the needs of the body, then we would have chaos rather than unity. We were called by one spirit to one body. This is why each one of us should know and prove the will of God for our lives and set out to operate in it ( Romans 12:2 ). This is what brings us freedom as individuals and what blesses the collective body of Christ.
Paul talked more about this in I Corinthians 12. "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many" ( I Corinthians 12:12-14 ). Recognizing that we are one in Christ, we are called to make up one body and the body depends on us to function as we were designed is an amazing thing. This realization will free us from trying to be all things to all people. Instead we can focus on our strengths and the purpose to which we have been called. This is how God designed us to serve the body, by merely playing to the strengths for which he created us, and by using our natural talents and aptitudes to bring fullness to the many members. In doing this we will experience incredible joy, because we are living our lives in the way God designed us to live.
Today, I pray that you enjoy the gifting that the Lord created in you. May you serve His body with your strengths and talents out of a heart of gratitude for what he has done. May your joy be overflowing in the fullness of Him, amen.