Yesterday’s communion talk prompt said:
Ephesians 4; Romans 12
God has given us different gifts and talents through the Holy Spirit.
How do our different roles in the body relate to communion?
So first off, what does Ephesians 4 say?
It starts out by Paul telling the Ephesians he wants them to “lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” From there, he talks about unity, and all the “ones”. The “one body” is what we are focusing on today.
Ephesians 4:7 says, ” He has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.” Then starting in verse 11, it lists various gifts given to the church: to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, preachers, and teachers. These gifts were given to build each other up, and keep working toward that unity he mentioned earlier.
But those aren’t the only good gifts He has given us.
Look in the other passage at Romans 12. It brings us back to that one body. Starting in verse 4, Paul says, “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” Then he starts listing gifts again. But look at the difference. The examples he gives here are: prophesy, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, showing kindness. Then the rest of the chapter goes on to give instruction on how to love and serve and build up and unify.
Audrey’s devotional book one day last week challenged her to think about what her gifts are. I told her I wanted her to really think about it herself before I helped her figure it out. To think about the things that come naturally for her, and how she can use those things to help people or share God with them or show love to them. So I’m challenging you to do the same. What are the traits that God has gifted you with, and what roles can you take on to use them?
And we all have different gifts. My gift isn’t the same as yours. Not all gifts are “public” gifts, like preaching or teaching. Some are more “behind the scenes”, like discernment or even something that seems as simple as fixing a meal or doing some yard work – it doesn’t feel like a “big gift”, but it takes everyone to keep things going make things happen. None of us is good at everything. It is true that we can cultivate traits that we aren’t naturally good at, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that – we should all be willing to learn and grow in all areas. But at the same time, what if we each worked even more at growing in the areas we are naturally good at, and worked together to support each other and really work as a body should?
1 Corinthians 12 also talks about gifts, and all of us being one body. in verses 21-22, we read, “The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’ The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’ In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.” But you want to know the best part? Look at verse 18, “God has put each part just where He wants it.” God gave us the gifts He wanted us to have. He didn’t give us all the same gifts, He chose different gifts for each of us, then put us all in the same body to work together and help each other.
I’m going out on a limb for a minute here. I think too many times, we have pushed certain people to do things they aren’t gifted in, not even a little bit, and stifled others who would be perfect at filling those roles. When what we should have been doing is looking at each individual and saying, “What is your gift? How can we use that?” This would build each other up in their natural abilities, and at the same time not making others feel like failures because they just can’t grasp the things they aren’t gifted with.
It takes all of us. All of our different gifts and abilities, to make up a whole body. If you lose part of your body, your body might still be able to function, but not as efficiently. If one of your other parts tries to take up the slack, it won’t be able to do the job well. Paraphrasing Paul, our eyes can’t hear and our ears can’t smell. So why do we expect our church family members to try to take on roles that God didn’t make them for? And at the same time, why do we keep them from performing the roles God did make them for? Would you put an eye patch over your eye, or ear plugs in your ears, or tie your hand behind your back, and call your body working efficiently? Of course not. The body of Christ is the same. The Spirit wants to work through us to bring us to our purpose, and, as 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says, we shouldn’t stifle that. On the contrary, per verse 14, we should encourage one another to not be lazy or timid with our gifts.
Bringing it back to communion…Christ is who brought us all together into the one body. We are His body. Communion reminds us that we are all part of the same body, the church, that He is the head of. His death and resurrection is what brings us together. We are all one in Him. Unified in our diversities. Unified in our love for Him and each other. Unified through the Spirit.