My wife and just shared this passage from Australia to our bible study group in Thailand. I would like to share some of the insights the Lord gave me while I was teaching and learning.
Romans 12:4-8 (WEBM) For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members don’t have the same function,
so we, who are many, are one body in Messiah, and individually members one of another.
Having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us, if prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith;
or service, let us give ourselves to service; or he who teaches, to his teaching or he who exhorts, to his exhorting: he who gives, let him do it with liberality; he who rules, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
I verbally illustrated verse 4 as follows. Look at your hands, most of us have two hands with 10 fingers, the fingers on each hand may look similar, but no two fingers can do exactly the same job as the one next to it or the opposite on the other finger. I am right handed, which means that my right hand is stronger than my left, my right index finger can do things that my left index finger is not strong enough to do, but together they can do things in unity that neither can do individually.
The next verse goes on to say that eventhough we are each individuals, we are joined together in the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. But we must be United! If four of my fingers have a disagreement and go sulk in different corners, I will not be able to carry out the simplest task due to the lack of unity and cohesion, I wouldn’t be able to pick up a coin or scratch myself, zero unity equals zero functionality.
After this we start to mention the gifts each of us are given as members of the body of Christ, and those gifts are given as an act of grace from God, and the gifts work in proportion to our faith.
If my faith was like that of an ant looking up at a mountain, saying “I can move this mountain……..one grain of sand at a time!”, or my faith was equal to the size of the God who dwells within me and gives me strength, the I could simply step on the mountain and squash it into the Earth. That is how the gifts work.
The Say for example that there are 50 prophets in one room all using the gift according the thier faith, every one of them would show thier use of the gift differently, some would be shouting in tongues and the message would be lost without interpretation, some speaking clearly and concisely, but maybe in riddles, and then there could be one so full of faith and Spirit of God that all they would have to do is stand still, wait for the Lord to raise an audience, then speak the words softly that the Lord puts in thier mouth while the Lord speaks directly into the hearts of the listeners, because of this prophets faith.
The next gift mentioned is Ministry, this gift covers a very broad stroke with an artist’s brush. Everyone, and I do mean everyone that is in the body of Christ is called to Minister to the word of God. The word minister means to serve, and the word minister immediately calls to mind a Pastor ministering the Word to the people, but it also covers the one who sweeps the floor, or cleans the toilet, takes out the rubbish, everything in the body that let’s the machinery of the to remain lubricated and well serviced.
Next come the teachers, this is me among other gifts He has bestowed on me. You can have a Pastor turn up on Sunday and put everyone to sleep for up to an hour, but a teacher will expound the Word, break it down, pull it apart and then put it back together so that everyone can understand it and get something out of it, but they can easily go over time, but keep the congregation interested.
Exhorters have an important role to fulfill, they can lift the heaviest spirit that is laying at the deepest point in the oceans, and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, can lift that person up till they are soaring with eagles in the highest of heights, they can refresh the weary soul and ease the troubled mind.
Leaders or Rulers, do they lead by example or drive with a whip. Jesus was a servant leader who amassed a considerable following in a short time, because He led by example and was believable, the only time He drove with a whip was when He drove the money changers out of the temple. Leaders in our churches need to follow Jesus’ example, be believable and not be a ‘do as I say, not what I do leader.’. Leaders need to be diligent with thier own lives, because the sheep will be watching while the leader is walking.
Finally we have Mercy. I don’t need to be able bodied to be merciful, I don’t need to be in a good mood to be merciful, I don’t need to be the receiver of mercy to be merciful. This gift comes from the heart, a person cannot be hard hearted and be merciful, there are many in the world like that today, I do not need to be among the ever increasing number of the merciless. God showed us mercy through grace by faith on the cross, and as the Word says “freely you have received, freely you shall give!”, we need to emulate our God in our daily lives. How many homeless would there be if every child of the Lord God most High showed mercy and ministered to the needs of the homeless? How many lives would be turned around by grace through faith in those who were ministered to?
There is something to consider as we move into another week in the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour.
Be blessed in all that you lay your hands to. May those who hear the words from your lips be touched by the Holy Spirit and thier lives turned in the direction of the Father’s throne.