We complete the Church by the exercise of our various gifts. Mercy precedes duty. Grace motivates Christian living.
In view of God’s great mercies to us in Christ, we are to give ourselves without reserve to God. Before every duty of the Christian life we are to place before our mind’s eye the free grace and unmerited favor which is ours through faith in Jesus Christ.
Our first duty is entire consecration. We are called to be 100% radically sold out for Jesus Christ. That is our identity! That is who we are! We are disciples and servants of Christ. He is Lord over the heavens and the earth and we delight in Him.
That total commitment keeps us from being double minded men. We do not have to decide each day whether we will follow Christ or not; that decision, that cInommitment is already made. We belong to God. We have been purchased with the blood of Christ. We are not our own.
With that commitment to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice in hand (Romans 12:1-2), Paul speaks of other duties of Christian living. He starts with gifted Christian service.
What if I, your pastor/preacher, were to tell you that I had a busy week. I had bills to pay, shopping, school, kids, visiting, studying, phone calls, and family issues. I had such a busy week that I have decided not to exercise my preaching gift in the church this week. I cannot serve you with a sermon this week. I just didn’t have the time.
That would be strange and uncomfortable. You would, I trust, be rather disappointed but above all it would be noticeable. If the pastor doesn’t exercise his gifts in the congregation, everybody knows.
But, what if you had the busy week? You just didn’t have time to serve the church according to your gifts and calling this week. Would it be as noticeable? Or, could you get away with not serving for a week? a month? a year? Could your lack of serving become a lifestyle?
God, through Paul, is urging every Christian to soberly assess their gifts and then to diligently and fruitfully exercise their gifts for the building up of the body of Christ.
We need each other. We are incomplete without the gifts that others exercise in the church. Two things happen when a gift failure happens in the church fellowship. 1) If you are not serving the body of Christ with your gift, you are stealing from, weakening and wounding the body of Christ. 2) If you are receiving the gifted ministry of others in the church, by not fully participating in the life of the church, or being fully part of the fellowship and communion of the saints, you are rejecting the gifts that God has given others for your good and growth in grace.
We need each other. We are but one piece of the puzzle that God has created. If we separate ourselves from others we are a useless one piece puzzle. If we do not serve with our gifts the puzzle remains annoyingly incomplete.
God has called us to himself and given us gifts to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ. Be a good sibling. Serve as your gifts, calling and opportunities allow.