“God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose”- 1 Corinthians 12:22 (ESV)
Everybody’s different. There is no one else in this world who is just like you. You are unique.
Do these messages sound familiar? In a highly individualistic culture such as ours, we hear them all the time. Truth be told, sometimes we’re convinced, while at other times, we aren’t.
But what if I told you that there is at least one wayin which every single one of us who are “in Christ” is exactly the same? Because according to God in 1 Corinthians 12, there is. This passage teaches us clearly that if you know Jesus personally, and are thus a member of His church, you have- without exception- been gifted by God for others’ good.
This gifting from God is gracious– there is nothing we can do to earn or deserve it. It is also generous– God has given us everything we need to do everything He has called us to do. And as the verse that heads this post makes clear, it is entirely purposeful– God made each of us who He made us, and how He made us, entirely on purpose. And what is that purpose? To bring glory to Him, and to bless and build others up to become who He has created them to be.
You see, each local church- Fellowship Church included- is much like a puzzle. Just as every puzzle has a designer, the church has been sovereignly and purposefully “designed” by God. This means that God has not only gifted each individual in His church uniquely, but He has also brought us together with a healthy diversity of unique giftings to form a unified, effective whole.
Also, just as every piece of every puzzle has a place and a purpose, every member of every church, including you, has a place and a purpose in God’s ongoing work. That means that you are needed, wanted, and valued. This is true no matter what you or anyone else has told you in the past. Make no mistake- God does love you, God has gifted you, and God does intend to use you powerfully to impact others in a big way, no matter how much you doubt that reality.
As one of the primary aspects of our Beyond Initiative, we want to challenge you to serve beyond yourself– that is, to utilize the unique and purposeful gifting of God in your life to glorify Him and benefit others here at Fellowship Church and beyond. Our church will only function fully to its potential as each member embraces and enacts the unique equipping of God in his or her life. To put it more simply, everyone must find their God given “fit” so that the whole may be complete.
How, then, do you do this, especially if you’ve never served at Fellowship Church- or perhaps at any church- before? Try this simple but significant process…
1- Begin in your heart. Serving beyond yourself obviously involves your hands, but the process must first begin in your heart, as you make yourself available to God to be used by Him in His work. Understand this- The first and foremost prerequisite for contributing in a powerful way to God’s church is a humble, willing heart. If you’ve got that, God can and will give you the grace to take the next step.
2- Start somewhere. As the old cliché goes, “It’s hard to steer a ship that isn’t moving.” The same principle holds true in serving. The best way to know what God has for you uniquely is to take the opportunities before you- even if they don’t seem ideal- and ask Him to direct you as you move in obedience. Also be sure to gather the feedback of trusted others who can recognize and call out your potential. Often others see in us what we have a tough time seeing in ourselves.
3- Don’t give up. Even when you feel like you’ve found your perfect “fit” in serving beyond, there will be challenging days. Serving in God’s church involves people- you included- and wherever people are, problems can arise. Don’t let this difficulty sway you from doing everything that God has called you to do. After all, Jesus’ “perfect fit” in serving was a bloody Cross, where He bore your sin and mine so we could have real life in Him. This was no doubt a difficult assignment, but He followed it through obediently to completion. Let’s make His example our model and motivation.
I pray you have been encouraged and challenged this week to consider how God wants to use you in the lives of others at Fellowship Church. If you are not yet serving, but would like to take a first step, please contact us at (225) 673-4735 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be privileged to help you take that step.