I love it when Maggie preaches. Sunday sermons serve two purposes: to hold up God’s word as a mirror for us to see the imperfections we need to let God work on and to nourish our souls. Every time Maggie preaches, I get both of those things.
Maggie mentioned on Sunday that she is gifted in encouragement, and I can vouch for this firsthand. Maggie’s joy is so palpable and her love for others is so genuine that encouragement comes naturally to her and through her. And I think that’s why she’s one of the best people to talk about the body of Christ.
Some parts of the body are more exciting than others. We look at the mouth and hands and feet and think of all the appreciation those parts get. We think there’s nothing great about being an eyebrow, but without it, the eyes are susceptible to damage because there’s one less thing to guard it from debris. (Plus, the body looks weird without them.) We think nothing of elbows until we hit them on something, but forearms, wrists, hands, fingers wouldn’t function properly, if at all, without a healthy elbow. Maybe I’m the only one, but there are days when I feel like I’m the armpit or the appendix of the body of Christ, so it’s nice to be reminded that we all truly play important roles.
Paul writes in Romans 12:4-8 (NLT), “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. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”
Maggie used my mom as an example of someone who has the gift of prayer, and she is absolutely right. My mom is the sweetest lady on the planet, and she is so close to God that I can’t help but imagine that heaven quietens a bit when she prays so that no one misses a word of it. I imagine that God closes His eyes and smiles whenever she talks to Him because He just really enjoys hearing from her. My dad listened to a song called “When Mama Prayed” a lot after he got saved, and the song is about the evident power of the speaker’s mother’s prayers. The lines I remember most are, “You almost felt sorry for the devil / ‘Cause heaven knows he didn’t have a prayer.” No two lines remind me of my mother more than those two.
This apple fell very far from that tree. People ask me to pray for them sometimes, and I gladly do it, and I am humbled by their confidence in me and my relationship with God, but I know that this is not my gift. I love being there for people, and I sincerely hope I’m as good of a listener as I think I am. I pray from the heart, which is all I know to do, but I am not known for my praying. I talk to God, and I know He hears me, and He answers me, but I can’t imagine that there’s the same vibe in God’s throne room as there is when my mom prays.
And that’s okay.
I can’t pray like my mom does, but she’s not as good with words as I am. You may not be the best greeter, but maybe you’re good at running slides or playing the piano. Perhaps you’re not good at baking desserts for events but you’re good at planning them or mopping the floors up after. We do different things because we’re different parts, but that doesn’t make any part more important than the rest.
Odd as it may sound, when I think of how there are different parts to the body of Christ, I think of Mary and Martha. Jesus visits them at their home in Luke 10. Verses 39-40 (NIV) tell us, “She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made…”
The point of this scripture in its context and entirety is that Martha is too concerned with things she shouldn’t be and that Mary isn’t in the wrong. What we see here, though, is two women with very different gifts. Mary is eager to learn, to listen, to spend time with Jesus. She seems friendly and would probably pass along what she learned to others. Martha is organized and hands-on. She probably envisions her goals and wants things done a certain way. She keeps the wheels turning.
Maybe you’re like Mary. Maybe you relate to Martha. Perhaps you’re a little bit of both. Regardless, the body of Christ needs all of its parts, and you’re service certainly fits in somewhere.
I’d like to leave you with directions Paul issues to us that we all need to incorporate in our lives and service. “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:9-10, NLT).
By Carrie Prevette
P.S.- Maggie mentioned spiritual gift tests, so I’ve linked some below for anyone interested in taking one!