Strengthening the Body by Growing Your Gifts

“But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”  (1 Corinthians 12:18-19, ESV) 

These are some incredible verses! I encourage you to read through those again and again and really think about what is being said. The Lord uniquely made each one of us and gave us specific talents and skills to be used to honor him and help others.

We are each vitally important. And this world wouldn’t be the same without us. These aren’t just cliche phrases to make us feel better, they are truth!

Even with this in mind, I spent years reading verses such as these and thinking to myself “I’m probably the pinky toe.” While that’s a humorous, self-deprecating joke, I was missing the whole point.

Instead of celebrating the collaborative and interconnected nature of the body, I returned the focus to myself, trying to decide which part of the body I was. I felt jealous of those I was sure were vital, like a hand or an eye or the vocal cords and felt insecure about my own contribution to the world.

What I’ve learned, especially over the last few years, is that nothing works outside of the rest of the body. I can try to go rogue and develop my gifts in a vacuum, separated from all others, but that’s not how I’m called to live.

In fact, when I do that, it is usually to my own personal detriment. But when I pursue my gifts within a community of Christ-followers, I am better positioned for growth.

Even if I am the pinky toe, I’m not unnecessary or expendable. In fact, the pinky toe provides balance and stability to the foot — it’s not purposeless, and neither am I. And neither are you.

Honestly, I still try to figure out which “body part” I am, but I’m fixating on that less and less. Now I’m learning to celebrate the fact that I’m part of something bigger than myself, serving a God who knows I’m absolutely necessary, and growing into the person he’s called me to be.

My jealousy is turning to gratitude and purposeless to passion. I’m embracing the fact that pursuing my gifts is always better in the context of community.

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