Romans 12:4-8 – For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
A few weeks ago, I injured myself profoundly doing something that should be easy and straightforward – sleeping. I went to bed, and I don’t know what happened. It seems like sleeping should be easy – everything comes with instructions, but a bed doesn’t even come with a manual.
I go to bed, everything is fine, and I wake up and I have this shooting pain because I’ve pulled my back. When I was in high school, I played football. Was I any good, you ask? No. There’s a reason I’m free on Sundays to work another job. I was running the ball and a guy speared me with his helmet right in the back and, ever since then, every once in a while, I tweak it.
So, I’ve been walking like the 157-year-old version of me for weeks. In my back, there’s a little, itty bitty part but it’s connected to a lot of other parts. So, sometimes, while preaching, my back locks up, then my leg locks up, then my neck locks up. My chiropractor asks what happened and I say, “I don’t know, I just got up.”
Have you ever had something small go wrong in your body? You realize at that point that it all works together.
In this passage, Paul is using the analogy of a body to describe a church family. If you go into a church and they’re all the same parts, that’s a weird body. You’ve got no head and you’ve got 17 legs? That’s weird. Congratulations, you’re not falling over but you can’t see where you’re going. Every body has diversity but, here, Paul is talking about interdependence – we need each other and we’re better together. If you’ve ever had a part of your body fail, like I did, you realize that’s a big part.
Different people have different spiritual gifts, different degrees of gifting, and different gift combinations. Every Christian has a gift, and every Christian is a gift.
In this passage, along with three other places in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 12, 1 Peter 4, Ephesians 4), Paul gives a list of spiritual gifts that God has gifted people. None of these lists are comprehensive or exhaustive but are just purposed to give you an idea of some of the options.
Sometimes it takes trial and error to figure out your spiritual gift and many people are gifted in multiple areas. It takes all of us to make up the body of Christ and God allows all of us to help Him accomplish His purposes in different ways. We all get to come alongside our Heavenly Father in ministry and service.
Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? If not, read through the lists in 1 Cor. 12, Rom. 12, 1 Peter 4, and Eph. 4 for some possible ideas. Find ways this week to serve others in the way(s) you’ve been gifted.
To find the free Romans 12-16 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.