Romans 12: 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us…
Can you imagine an elite basketball team where the 5-foot-6-inch point guard decided she wanted to play center, replacing her 6-foot-4-inch teammate? “I spend all day running up and down the court, dishing off the ball to the center, who just lays the ball in the hoop. I think I’d much prefer that position”. It wouldn’t take long to see why that would not be a very wise decision, as she’d be standing in the key, dwarfed by those guarding her and having the basketball stuffed down her throat every time she drove to the basket.
Each member on that basketball court has a unique purpose and typically is uniquely designed for that position. A point guard (a.k.a. 1) is stereotypically shorter but gifted at dribbling the basketball and playmaking. Traditionally, a shooting guard (a.k.a. 2) is usually the team’s best shooter. A small forward (a.k.a. 3) is usually the most versatile having to take on various roles and they need quickness and strength. A power forward (a.k.a. 4) needs to be versatile, being large and strong enough to get to the basket, but also being a skilled shooter. Finally, the center (a.k.a. 5) is usually the tallest player on the court and needs to own the area under the basket both offensively and defensively, gathering rebounds, putting the ball in the hoop, or denying the opponents from getting near the basket.
In order to have success in the game of basketball, each of the above positions in critical. And when each player accepts their position and works together as a team, the results are a pleasure to watch. When, however, a key player is missing, or someone is not content with their position and takes on someone else’s duties, the results are invariably chaos and defeat.
In the same way, God says that while we are all members of one team, we have different functions in the church. And just like we are different physically, we also have different spiritual gifts. If you look at the scripture above in Romans 12: 4-8, and also look at 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 and Ephesians 4:11-13, you will find 18 unique gifts of the spirit. While God can often grant multiple gifts to an individual, you will find that God will supply local churches with individuals with distinct gifts, and just like on the basketball court, when each recognizes their gifts and uses them to the best of their abilities, the end result is beautiful teamwork. However, when we are discontent with the gifts we have been given or don’t understand our spiritual gifts, we miss out on God’s plan for us and for the body of Christ – the church (1 Corinthians 12:27).
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 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 stop being part of the body. 17 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? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. (1 Corinthians 12: 15-20)
If you do not know your spiritual gift(s), I encourage you to read the scriptures listed above, pray through them, and reference with mature believers in your life. You can also check out Christian resources like those found at: www.churchgrowth.org. Embrace the spiritual gifts you have been given, because God has chosen those spiritual gifts precisely for you (1 Corinthians 12:11) for the specific good works he has prepared in advance for you to do (Ephesians 2:10). GO TEAM!