Summary: We are to appreciate our special place in the Body of Christ.

If you have a choice, which part of your body can you live without? I think you would answer with the famous line of the vitamin commercial, “I want to be complete.” Well, according to 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” [1] I believe God wants us to enjoy our completeness as the Body of Christ. By the Spirit’s sovereign choice, every believer is uniquely gifted to serve his or her place in the Body of Christ. Let us open our Bibles in 1 Corinthians 12 as we continue our series on spiritual gifts, “Empowered to Engage.” Let us pray first…

We already saw that we are to acknowledge the significance of our gifts. Verse 1 tells us, “Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.” God does not want us to be ignorant about our spiritual gifts. Second, we need to accept the sovereign choice of the Spirit in giving us gifts. Verse 11 tells us, “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” When we accepted our Lord Jesus as Savior, the Spirit joined us into one body. He chose which part of the body we would become. He did this by giving us spiritual gifts, that is, supernatural abilities or skills that empowers us to serve effectively in our part of the Body. Verses 12 and 13 go like this, “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.” This brings us to our third point. We are to appreciate our SPECIAL PLACE in the Body of Christ. We show our appreciation by discovering and developing our spiritual gifts.

How do we do that? First, each one of us must see ourselves as a significant part of a bigger body. The Message version has paraphrased a potion of verse 13 this way: “We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything.” We are not on our own. We are a body. Romans 12:4-5 tell us, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Note that last clause, “each member belongs to all the others.” We belong to each other. One of the songs I like is “Can’t Smile without You” by Barry Manilow. You know the song. “You know I can’t smile without you / I can’t smile without you / I can’t laugh and I can’t sing / I’m finding it hard to do anything / You see I feel sad when you’re sad / I feel glad when you’re glad / If you only knew what I’m going through / I just can’t smile without you.” Yes, brothers and sisters, the Spirit has intertwined our lives together.

Let’s go on 1 Corinthians 12:14-20. “Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be 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 cease to be 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 arranged 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.” We have to appreciate the unique role we play in the church. No one can play that role better than you. Each one of us is important in the Body.

If you are gifted with leadership, you can lead even better than those who have MBAs. Of course, as I’ve said, we can serve not only in areas where we are gifted but also where we are needed. However, I pray that each one would serve where we are gifted. We are more effective in the area where we are gifted. Yes, there are times we are forced to serve where we are not gifted but where we are needed. But we can’t do it better than those gifted to serve in that function.

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