Summary: Being a part of the body of Christ means using our gifts to build God’s kingdom
Stewardship of Talent
1. I’ve learned that something said once can be important. It might be worth listening to. But I know that if someone says it twice, it’s even more important. If someone is willing to repeat themselves, than they feel that what they are saying is very important. But when someone says it three times, then you know that it is more important than something said only once or twice. Someone who will say something three times, wants us to not only hear it but also to act on it. To understand how important it is, they will repeat it three times. Do you get the message? Do you get the message? Do you get the message?
2. Three times in His word, God talks to the church about using their talents for His glory. He talks about it in different ways but He talks about it nonetheless three times. First, He wants us to hear it. Secondly, He wants us to take it to heart, and thirdly, He wants us to live it out. He’s not simply repeating Himself to hear His own voice. He is calling us to a way of life. To an attitude of living like He wants us to.
3. God’s word speaks to individuals about using their talents in three different passages of scripture. Romans 12 addresses it, 1 Corinthians 12 talks about it, and it’s found again in Ephesians 4. Do you get the message? God is serious about you and me using the gifts that He has given us.
4. Romans 12.4-8 says, [Read text]. According to Paul in this passage, God has designed the church to function like a body. And just as our bodies work together, so too, a church which is healthy, which is using their gifts, all the individuals do their parts and function as they are supposed to function. Paul says, “we all belong to each other.” You see, the reason the body functions isn’t because one part works for itself to receive its own glory, rather because each part is working for the good of the whole. And that’s the way we are called to work.
5. So the number one reason to use our spiritual gifts is because we need each part of the body to function like it should. One part not functioning can hinder or handicap the rest of the body. People who are disabled know only too well how a part of the body that chooses not to function hampers what they might be able to accomplish otherwise. This certainly doesn’t mean that disabled people can’t function very, very well. It only means that they are aware that they have to compensate in different ways for the parts of the body that don’t function.
6. Can it be done? Absolutely, however, if you would talk to many disabled individuals, they would say that they would rather have the function of the entire body. And what this means for the church should be clear. Can a church function with only some of its members? Absolutely, but should it have to? Should the body of Christ limp because there is no one to be the leg? Should the body of Christ do less because there is no one to be the arm? Should the body of Christ understand less because the head isn’t functioning properly? Three times, God, through humans tells us to use our gifts. And He does so because He expects us to do so.
7. Turn over with me to 1 Corinthians 12. If any church in the New Testament could be considered in today’s psychological terms “dysfunctional”, it was the church in Corinth. All sorts of problems were there. Immorality, partiality, favoritism, and on and on the list could go. The church was a mess. And yet, to this church Paul writes again, “You are the body of Christ.” And each of you have a part, each of you are a member, and each has been given a gift to be used for the church. 1 Corinthians 12.27 says, “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” Again, this idea that we aren’t here for ourselves but we are here for each other. To a dysfunctional church, Paul wrote, you don’t belong to yourselves. You aren’t doing what you are doing for just you. You belong to each other. You are doing your ministry for the sake of the body of Christ. At the close of this chapter, Paul says, “But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.” And with this in mind, Paul begins to describe what the love of God is like.
8. But we aren’t a dysfunctional church. We are a healthy church, and getting healthier. Yet, Paul says to us as well, whatever your gifts are, continue to use them. Continue to fulfill your role as a part of the body of Christ.