I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t turn over. No, I wasn’t suddenly paralyzed, at least not all over. I was asleep on my stomach and both my arms had fallen completely asleep from my shoulders all the way down to my fingers. And I absolutely could not roll over.

It was like my arms had taken a mind of their own and decided to totally stop functioning. Actually it wasn’t like that…it was exactly that. I don’t know about you but I’ve probably been rolling over on my own since I was a few months old. But that night, sleeping alone and having two arms that were now just dead weights, I was stuck. No rolling over and no getting up.

Yesterday, the Sunday sermon at the church I was attending was about spiritual gifts from I Corinthians 12. The pastor reminded us that when one part of our body ceases to function, it affects the whole body. If our heart stops working, our whole body goes down. Or in my case, when both my arms fell asleep, I was stuck on my stomach until they woke up enough to be of use to me.

The same is true in the church. Spiritual gifts and how they are used (or not) affects the entire church body. What happens to the church if one member decides not to use his or her gift? Either that particular work goes undone or others have to cover for the member not using their gift. Regardless, the whole body is affected.

In writing to the Corinthians, Paul says,

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.
I Corinthians 12:18-20

This message struck me as I thought about my own accountability for using my gifts. It means I don’t get to decide to just not use my gifts. I don’t get to allow fear to keep my gifts hidden. And I don’t get to be more influenced by what others say than by what God says about using my gifts.

God has gifted me…and you…just like He wanted to so that we can serve the body of Christ. It doesn’t matter what our particular gift is, but just that we use it to build up the church. 

What about you? Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? And are you using them in the church as God directs? If not, why not? Let’s encourage one another daily to walking in the gifts and callings God has given each of us.

I wonder what would happen in the church and in the world if we all were fully committed to doing so.




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