Each believer is to exercise her gifts in the body of Christ—for the body of Christ. As we share our gifts with others, we should each ask ourselves: Am I making myself look better, or the body of Christ look better? Our gifts are not regarded as spiritual awards but are God’s means for service and ministry. We must give our gifts back through the body of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul paints an amusingly profound word picture of the body of Christ. He says the body has many members. Every member has a function and is a vital part. He reminds us that no part is better than any other. No part is greater than any other part. All parts of the body are needed for the body to be complete, to properly function, and to fulfill its purpose in the kingdom of God. The reason for our spiritual gifts is the building of the body of Christ through the ministry of those gifts, which brings glory to the Father in His plan of redemption.
Too many Christians today are working in the body of Christ without exercising their gifts. The body of Christ will be healthy only when each believer is fulfilling her purpose, exercising her individual gifts, and not just filling a position.
Nothing is more exciting than watching Christians use their gifts in the body of Christ and watching how that enhances and impacts the whole body and ultimately the kingdom. Spiritual gifts utilized energize the body of Christ. For instance, when I am the recipient of another’s gift, I am drawn to Christ and encouraged in my faith. When I share my gift in the body, I sense the Spirit and the power of God working through me and find it humbling beyond explanation. I feel utter dependence upon the Gift Giver, and know that without His touch, I have nothing to share. My gift is God’s gift; it is for His kingdom.
We should not waste a moment desiring another’s gift. We should work hard to develop the gifts God has given us to make the body stronger!
This article is adapted from a chapter written by Esther Burroughs and found in Women Reaching Women: Beginning and Building a Growing Women’s Ministry compiled by Chris Adams.