Bones, flesh, blood, sinews combine,
Organs, hormones obey God’s design,
Dispute no more about which part is best.
Young, give freely of ideals and zest
Old, your experience and wisdom share
Feast upon testimonies seasoned with prayer.
Consider you are wonderfully and fearfully made
Healed in the heart now sin’s price has been paid
Rise above doctrine, banish division
Inspire each member to strive for one vision
Suffer together, together rejoice
Tongues of prophecy tell out as one voice.
We are the body of Christ – if one part suffers, we all suffer. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)
We all have a ministry. Some people are blessed with a very public ministry and can preach powerful sermons. Some people have a healing ministry and are evidently able to promote physical and mental recovery. Some people are gifted musicians who can inspire congregations to the heights of worship. Often, though, I have seen ministry in the way a church has been cleaned and cared for, in a friend’s prayer at a time of need, in the words of welcome received at a church door, or in the home baking that accompanied a cup of tea at the end of a service. The ordinary folk who did these things had a less overt ministry, but one which I am certain has helped others on their faith journey.
Thank goodness we don’t have to be good at everything. If we’re half-decent at something God will have a role for us. We might even be called to do something completely outside our comfort zone, when God gives us strength and confidence to compensate for our inexperience and lack of preparation. I have seen outreach and blessing happen in the most unexpected ways from the most incidental of church activities undertaken behind the scenes by unnamed people. Of course, they are known to and valued by God. We are all part of the body of Christ.
Here’s a bonus acrostic that I wrote for our church magazine on the appointment of our new administrator. Did you realise that administration was a gift of the Holy Spirit? (1 Cor. 12:28) Even if you can only file a letter, you are a key part of the Body of Christ and God needs you.
All spiritual gifts work in common accord,
Different types of service all come from one Lord:
Miracle workers may only rarely be found,
Inspirational apostles may be thin on the ground,
Not every member can be a prophet or teacher,
Interpretation of tongues requires a very rare creature,
Spirit-given messages are revealed to but a few –
Thankfully, most of us are given lesser tasks to do!
Routine gifts of the Spirit won’t set the world aflame,
Administration in particular receives scant acclaim
Though rotas and spreadsheets don’t fill up themselves.
If you find a church with orderly pigeon-holes and shelves,
Operating smoothly like a finely tuned machine
No doubt a gifted administrator toils away unseen.
(Body of Christ appears on my New Testament: The Early Church page).