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Monday, December 7, 2009

Gift Giving

This week I have been in a bit of a funk.  I've been struggling to remember my identity in Christ.  Instead, I have been seeing only all the disappointments, struggles, and hardships.  One thing God has shown me is how much I need the Body of Christ.  He administers His grace to me through the Body. 

1Peter 4:10-11 "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."

There are so many areas where I am weak and not gifted at all.  There are so many times when I need encouragement and reminders of what the gospel is and who I am in Christ.  Here are a couple of ways in which the Body of Christ ministered to me in beautiful and truly helpful ways this week:
  • Solid, faithful, humble preaching, from the WORD
  • Moving, beautiful voice inspiring me to WORSHIP
  • Thoughtful phone call from a friend telling me that she is PRAYING for me
  • Providential encounter with a newer friend who wants to HELP and ENCOURAGE me in an area of sin and struggle
  • COMPASSION and EMPATHY from godly ladies who have walked the lonely journey of infertility too
The Body of Christ has helped me this week when I have not wanted to open my Bible, or open my mouth to praise, or sit down and pray, or try to do the things to which I know God has called me, or seek encouragement.  Increasing, God is showing me how He designed us to help each other.  All of us needs help from the Body.  All of us are also equipped to help others in the Body with the gifts that God has given us.  EACH HAS RECEIVED A GIFT from God to be used to SERVE ONE ANOTHER. 

1 Cor 13:4-11 "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills."

Some of these gifts are louder, flashier, and more public than others. Some of these gifts are quieter, behind the scenes, and more subtle than others. All of them are important for building up the Body.

1 Cor 12:12-31 "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves [4] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you,' nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.' 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way."

Yet, our gifts are meaningless without gospel love. 

1 Cor 13:1-3 "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing."

Everyone of us in the Body is gifted and equipped and called to do our part.  We are to excercise our gifts with the right heart.  In love, humility, gentleness, and with patience, we are to exercise the gifts that God has given us to benefit the Body so that we as the Body of Christ would attain the UNITY of the faith and of the knowledge of Jesus, be MATURE, grow up INTO CHRIST in everyway; and be built up in LOVE. 

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love."

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for not giving up on us!  Thank you for administering your grace and love through the Body of Christ.  Remind us what a privilege and responsibility it is for us to do our part.  Remind us that any giftings we have come from you, the power to use them come from you, the opportunities to use them come from you, and the ability to make these giftings fruitful comes from you!  Remind us that our giftings, no matter how flashy, public or grand make us no better than anyone else in your Body.  The Cross is an even playing field--we are all sinners who missed the mark and while we were sinners without hope in ourselves, you died for us.  Make us humble--that we would remember that we all have something to learn from each other. Show us the giftings you have given us and give us a vision for how you would have us use these giftings to edify your Body.  Thank you for allowing us to participate in what you are doing.  Thank you for bringing us help in the form of our brothers and sisters.  We love you.  In Jesus Name, Amen

1 comment:

Jennifer Smidt said...

Bina - so glad God gave you those gifts this weeks as reminders of His great love for you. He is the God who sees you. Thank you for the gifts you graciously and selflessly give also.