You have some very important homework to complete this week. I don’t usually assign homework for several reasons. At the top of the list is that I am not a teacher, you are not students, you are not being graded, and this is a church, not a school. Also, I was never much on homework during my own schooling years so I can’t really say it’s a passion of mine.
But this week is different. This week you have some very important and life giving homework to do.
On Sunday morning we continued in our More Than Sunday: Living as People of the Resurrection sermon series. We studied one of the Apostle Paul’s favorite metaphors for the church, the metaphor of the human body. Paul tells us in Romans 12 that, just as the human body is made up of many unique parts with different abilities, so the church is made up of many members, all of whom belong to one another. If you missed the message on Sunday morning you can listen to it here.
In verses 6-8 Paul turns abruptly from speaking about the whole body, to its individual parts and he begins to list kinds of gifts and functions that are present in the church; the metaphorical body of Christ. He gives us a representative not an exhaustive list of the sorts of gifts you all have; prophecy, teaching, serving, encouraging, giving, leading, showing mercy, and on and on.
And after he names each gift, there is an imperative. Use that gift for the benefit of body! If your gift is leading, then lead! If your gift is showing mercy, show mercy for the sake of the body! If you have the ability to encourage, do it! If you have been gifted to serve, then serve the other members of the body!
Like an ER doctor with paddles on a chest, yelling at a heart to begin pumping again, Paul implores us to do our unique work for the body. He wants us to understand that these we have been given are not really our gifts to hoard. We didn’t create them, we don’t own them, and they have been given to us for the purpose of serving the body.
Now here is where your two-part homework assignment begins:
Part 1 – Find someone in the body of Christ at First Presbyterian Church of Glen Ellyn and tell them what gifts you see in them. It could be someone in your small group, in your own home, your prayer partner from Lent, or a friend in the congregation. Think about the gifts that you have seen manifest in them and let him or her know what you believe to be true about his or her giftedness.
Part 2 – Think about your own gifts and how those could be used to bless the body. Are you a talented musician, a patient teacher of children, a compassionate person, or someone who is able to serve without lots of recognition? Are you someone who has the gift of hospitality, are you good at making new people feel welcome, are you a builder who is good with his hands, are you someone who is a natural leader?
Regardless of what you may think about yourself, the truth is that you have gifts and abilities. And if you are a follower of Christ, God has placed you in a Christian community with the express intention that you would use those gifts to serve the other members of the body, to whom you belong. So give some thought this week as to how God might be calling you to use your gifts to serve the body and in doing so make us all stronger, healthier, and more effective at our mission in this community.
If you need help completing either part of your homework, please let me know. I’d be glad to help.
Grateful to be one part of the body alongside you all,