“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. – 1 Peter 4:10-11. 

At Northstar, we stress the importance of serving others, serving the church, and serving the community. Serving others gets us outside ourselves and builds our relationship with God. But what if we believe we are not needed or choose not to serve. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”  If we choose not to serve, who will it effect and how?

That question can best be answered by looking at 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. This passage is one of the most challenging because God expects every part of the body to grow and do its work. In this passage, Paul uses the human body as a metaphor for the church, with each member serving as a part.

Which body part do you think is most critical to the proper functioning of the body as a whole? Or maybe, said another way, which body part is the most important? What if you had to lose one part of your body or ability, what would it be? These are hypothetical questions because the reality is that we need all of our body parts to work together. The same is true in a church.

Paul tells us just that: “ The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ….we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body?”  (1 Corinthians 12:12-16)

So what does that have to do with the church? The Bible makes it clear that every person has special gifts and abilities. We can use those unique elements to come together and do amazing things. But we have to use each other to make it happen. The church allows us to be one part of a whole group that serves Christ. That group is made up of us as individual people, and we all have unique abilities from God that can be used for Him. Even parts of our body that seem insignificant or not as critical can actually be quite important. If you break even your smallest toes, you will know it and it will affect your life. Church goers may not think they have the skills to do the most important work, at least what they view as important. But individually, no matter what your skills or gifts, can never accomplish what we can do collectively. 

Nobody, not even pastors who are sometimes put on a pedestal, can do everything. The reality is we were never meant to even try. God wants us to cooperate and use each other’s talent and ability to make anything possible. Sharing resources, time, and especially our gifts is what makes things work. Sometimes we want to be someone we aren’t. In those moments we need to remember that God chose who He wants us to be. We simply need to have a heart for service and a commitment to use our gifts for His glory.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you ever think think, “they don’t need me!”?
  2.  In the body, what does healthy dependence on each other look like?
  3. Am I insecure in the use of my gifts? How can I seek to be content in the gift(s) God has given me?
  4. Does Jesus washing the disciples feet change your mind about serving in the church?