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Yeshua Explored

Finding ourselves

todayDecember 21, 2020 7

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Here’s the ideal, as set down in Scripture:

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)

Now let’s speak frankly. If our human bodies operated in the same way as our current implementation of the Body of Christ, we would basically be big fleshy heads scampering around aimlessly on a myriad of tiny fingers. Unbalanced, ineffective, top-heavy, with most of the body relegated to the most menial of tasks, irrespective of their God-given abilities and the head huffing and puffing away and getting nowhere fast. This is what happens when we human beings are put in charge! The plan was a good one, but the implementation is often quite lacking.

As the passage tells us, God has constructed the human body with great care and intelligence, with eyes, ears, hands and feet in the correct places according to their function, many parts all working together. No part is to be deemed more important than any other, with each part respecting and honouring all others. Then the focus turns to us, the Body of Christ. The first observation is that all of us Christians belong to this “Body”, which means that we all have a purpose. There seems to be a hierarchy of functions and we should set our sights on the greater gifts, but – and this is important – the choice is not ours, it is God’s.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:6-8)

Our gifts are in accordance to God’s grace. We can desire the greater gifts for ourselves or others in our congregations, but the decision is not ours. We are equipped in accordance to the function that God has planned for us.

So does it follow that we all operate in the gifts that God has allocated to us? I would suggest that this doesn’t always happen, or that it happens but not in a timely manner. I was recently teaching a small Bible class on these matters and one gentleman introduced himself, a man who, when he was living in Zimbabwe was a pastor and a planter of many churches. Now he lives a humble life in Belfast and dutifully occupies the pews of his local church, who have no idea of the giftings they have failed to acknowledge. How many other hidden jewels are lost in the pews because churches don’t have the system or the will to unearth them?

This is an extract from the book, Shalom, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/shalom-239-p.asp

How do we deal with each other?

Written by: Miriam Emenike

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