The Most Ridiculous Thing
It’s the most ridiculous thing we do. Comparing our own God-given gift to someone else’s. Believe me, I know. I’ve been there, done that. Tripped into that particular pit too many times, and I am here to tell you—it’s empty. Stay out if you can. Goodness. I’ll tell you this, too. If there is an adversary…an enemy…this is sure and certainly his low-hanging fruit.
Don’t listen. Do not give that voice the time of day.
We are a BODY. This is how Paul describes the family of Jesus in one of his letters:
But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body (1 Corinthians 12:18-20).
Like a physical body connected by bones and ligaments, skin and muscle. We are all connected. Some of us are eyes. Some are hands. Some are knee caps. And whatever you are it is GOOD. E. NOUGH.
You are enough.
I am enough.
And just lately maybe I’m starting to believe it.
This is Paul again, in another letter and here again he talks about gifts:
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For 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, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully (Romans 12:3-8).
All of Paul’s lists mention teachers, and I have for a long time identified with this particular gift. But even in this, I’ve learned there are distinctions. Teachers with different platforms, different personalities, different gifts within their gifts.
I’ve heard that when it comes to discerning your soul’s gifting, you should listen to your tears. What stirs your heart? What makes you cry?
Years ago I had a holy experience. I wrote about it here. Quite possibly my most heartfelt and holiest CRY ever. And it came on the heals of a breathtaking epiphany. God confirming/ordaining/revealing my Spirit-breathed GIFT. A God-whispered intuition that there is something in me that is holy His and wholly mine.
But it is NOT creating a five-course-meal. Or marketing a ministry. It is not growing a garden and preserving its produce. And goodness knows it is not anything remotely related to heavy lifting. (This is the gift of my neighbor-friend, Barb.) To be honest, my gift is so impractical as to seem embarrassingly useless. Thus the temptation to compare.
I read this recently in a book for my seminary class:
The church’s central task is an imaginative one. By that I do not mean a fanciful or fictional task, but one in which the human capacity to imagine—to form mental pictures of the self, the neighbor, the world, the future, to envision new realities—is both engaged and transformed.
-Barbara Brown Taylor, The Preaching Life
I knew as soon as I read that quote. This is it. A gift within my gift of teaching and it’s this:
The gift of IMAGINATION.
God has preserved in me the wonder-filled gift of lifelong childlike imagination.
(You might want to grab yourself a snack before stopping by hungry for dinner. Just saying.)
What about you? What is your gift? What makes you cry? What stirs your heart? What brings you joy and gives you life?
God has gifted you for a special purpose, which is uniquely yours. He does not call you to be more or less—or someone other. He does not ask you to strive to be like anyone else. He chose you—and you only—for THIS.
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12).