June 22, 2020

Talking Through Romans 12:4-5, pt. 1

Talking Through Romans 12:4-5, pt. 1

One for All, All for The One

Josh,

This week we looked at Romans 12:4-5, which says,

“4 For 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, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

You also ended your last post with the question, “So, what’s your purpose?”

Well, that’s a difficult question, but an easy one as well.  I’ll start with why it can be difficult!  We all have unique talents and abilities that God has given us, as well as spiritual gifts (which we will talk about in more detail in the coming weeks).  Some of my talents are public speaking, art/design, digital media, and teaching.  I believe strongly that God gives us some talents so that we can enjoy a richer and fuller life while we’re on earth, giving us hobbies and interests that allow us to find excitement and fulfillment.  And we can pursue our personal interests and passions without succumbing to selfish ambition or pride, as long as we follow the urging of Colossians 3:23, which says,

“23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

The difficult part is figuring out which talents God wants us to use, in which ways He wants us to use them, and when.  Since I can draw relatively well, and since I have better than average skill and experience with digital photo editing, should I be serving God by doing graphic design for churches?   Should I create book covers for Christian authors?  Should I draw and sell artwork and donate some of the proceeds to various ministries?  Any of these is viable, yet doing all of them would be extraordinarily difficult. Plus, this only covers one talent!  Say, for the sake of argument, I dedicate myself to doing graphic design for churches and for Christian authors, what then of my teaching skills?  Am I only able to serve God by teaching at a Christian school, or is it better to let my light shine in a public school?

It is incredibly easy to fall down this rabbit hole of questions, or one similar to it.  What’s more, even though answering this question is an important part of being a good Christian, asking these questions endlessly to the point of inaction is wasteful and sinful, an exercise rooted in fear and timidity despite possessing the Holy Spirit and His power.

The good thing is that the question isn’t actually as difficult to answer as it can feel.  My purpose, and the purpose that all believers share with me, is right there in Romans 12:4-5.  I am a part of a body, the Body of Christ, and it is my purpose to serve the head of that body (Christ) as well as support and empower the rest of the body (fellow believers).  I am an individual with individual strengths and weaknesses, but as a part of the Body of Christ I “belong” to all the other members of that Body.

So, which talents should I utilize?  The answer is simple: any and all of them that enable me to support Christ and His followers.  I believe I do that as a youth pastor, using my talents in public speaking, teaching, and my passion for guiding and helping young people to serve God by teaching them and guiding them as best I can towards healthy and strong relationships with Christ.  I believe I also do that by creating flyers from time to time, or even by making social media posts!

I believe that our purpose as Christians is much more about serving the Body than it is about how we are serving it.  Nevertheless, we are equipped by the Spirit in particular ways, and it can harm the Body when we try to do jobs for which God has not equipped us.  This is one of many reasons why it is so important for Christians to be dutifully committed to a prayerful relationship with the Lord, and brings me back to Romans 12:2.  The more we align ourselves with the patterns of the world, the less capable we are of understanding the will of God, and therefore the less capable we will be of understanding our parts of His perfect plan.  We need to constantly refresh the focus of our minds, so that we can “test and approve what God’s will is.”

What do you think about these verses?  Do you agree that we can serve the Body in various ways, even within the realm of our talents?

-Ryan-

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