Working Together

“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 who are many for one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”  Romans 12:4-5

It’s exciting and interesting to learn about your own spiritual gifts, but another great benefit of this kind of assessment is you learn about your weaknesses and where you need help.  Our gifts are meant to complement one another.  No one person has every gift, so we must work together to accomplish God’s mission in the world.

One of my gifts (not my highest, but it’s in the mix) is leadership.  Here’s the definition of this gift:

LEADERSHIP: The gift of leadership is the special ability that God gives to

certain members of the Body of Christ to set goals in accordance with God’s purpose for the future and to communicate those goals to others in such a way that they voluntarily and harmoniously work together to accomplish those goals for the glory of God. Contributes: Direction.

A while back when we were giving gag gifts at a congregational luncheon, the group gave me a certificate naming me Joan “I have a great idea” Culler.  This confirms my gift of leadership.  I am the person with a million ideas about what individuals, groups and the entire congregation might do.  However, there’s one small problem.  I don’t have the gift of administration, and that’s a really necessary part of the process, as you can see:

ADMINISTRATION: The gift of administration is the special ability that God

gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to understand clearly the immediate and long-range goals of a particular unit of the Body of Christ and to devise and execute effective and efficient plans for the accomplishment of those goals. Con­tributes: Efficiency.

I can often see the direction or place I want to get to, but all the steps to get there, the many details, the “how” is not easy for me.  I get frustrated and stressed by trying to work through all the details.  It might take me days to get to the plan a good administrator sees in an instant.  As a leader, I do my best work when I have someone with the gift of administration by my side.  This is not true of everyone– some individuals will be blessed with both gifts.  However, it is true of me, so spiritual gift assessment has taught me not only my own gifts, but how to seek out those with the right gifts to work with me.

Is one gift more valuable?  As the apostle Paul would say, by no means!

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. 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? 1 Corinthians 12:16-17

All the gifts are important.  All the gifts are given by God.  Each one has its’ part to play.  We need to work together.

 

 

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When Blessings End

“No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him …” 1 Corinthians 2:9

I just received word from my friend and prayer sister, Karen, that her church will be leaving the AFLC for a different Lutheran denomination.  This means that after October, she will not be managing the prayer partner program I have been part of for a number of years.  Karen and some of the other ladies I have met through the program have been an inspiration and a blessing in my life.  I feel sad that it is ending.  I know we will stay in touch, but things won’t be exactly the same.

This has caused me to reflect on other times in my life when something that has really blessed me has come to an end.  My husband and I joined a church when we were a young married couple and stayed there for over twenty years.  It is the place where I felt I truly grew up and matured as a Christian.  I made wonderful friends and learned so much about how to lead a Christian life.  When Terry became a Pastor, we had to leave that safe and nurturing home.  I was sad then, also.

At one point in my life, I joined a neighborhood Bible Study.  I met women we lived nearby but belonged to different denominations.  The woman who led it was a more mature Christian than I was then.  At the time I had young children, a job and found myself like Martha, “distracted and worried about many things.”  A wonderful sense of peace would descend on me when I walked in her door each week.  I so needed that.  Of course, in time, people moved, schedules changed, and the study could not continue.

This reverie is leading me around to the realization that yes, blessings end;  but God still has good things in store.  He knows what we need as individuals and churches, and in His perfect timing, we will receive them. Each time I have “lost” a blessing, God has replaced it with something else new and challenging. So while we can be sad when things change, we need to look forward to the next blessing God has prepared for us.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[
    his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness” Lamentations 3:22-23