Article by GraceLife London TeamContributor at GraceLife London
1. Stop Thinking “I don’t Have Anything to Contribute.”
According to the Bible, every Christian has gifts to be used in the local church. When Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, he told them, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good,” (1 Cor. 12:7), and that it is the Spirit who “apportions to each one individually as He wills,” (1 Cor. 12:11). Tragically, because many people don’t know what their gifts are, and can’t think what to do, they don’t use the gifts God gave them.
2. Stop Thinking “The Church Doesn’t Need My Gifts”
In his letters to the church in Rome and Corinth, the picture Paul uses for the church is a body, and each person is viewed as a part of the body. Sometimes a Christian can look around the church and think, “My gifts are not the ones which are typically thought of as significant, so church doesn’t really need my gifts.” The trouble is, that’s just not true!
We all need to hear what God says on this issue:
And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. (1 Corinthians 12:16-20)
The truth is, you are a part of the body, and uniquely gifted to be able to play your part… so the body actually really does need you!
3. Realise Your Spiritual Gifts and Natural Gifts May Not Be The Same
They could be the same, and it’s always good to serve the body using all the gifts God has given you, including those you’ve had since birth. However, the Biblical picture of spiritual gifts, is that you’ve been given something new when you were born again, and these new gifts are for the benefit of the local church-body. You have a part to play!
4. Ask Who to Help, Not Just What to Do
There is a biblical principle about life “in the body,” that we’re to submit ourselves to one another (Eph 5:21). The word submission (in the original) is an old military term which has the idea of lining-up in rank behind someone. In other words, you place yourself under someone else’s authority, which is the opposite of trying to wrestle to be be in charge, or as Jesus put it, to be first!
As people join the church, I help them understand this by saying “Look around you, and ask ‘Who’s serving God?’ and ‘Who needs help?’ Then just get behind them and help them". This can include submitting to someone else’s needs as well. As you (prayerfully) ask this question “Who needs my help?” — the answer will often surprise you, and may lead you into service you could never have planned.
5. Understand That You May Not Know Your Gift(s), But Your Gift(s) Will Show
Christians often struggle to identify their gifts, because like a child growing up, they may not yet have even tried to serve in the way that God has gifted them. If God has gifted you in an area, as you begin serving in that way, your giftedness will show! You will find you can do it, and although it may not be easy, it will show-up that you have a gift, and you will find a unique spiritual satisfaction in using it!
It will probably be obvious to others that you’re gifted in that area too, since you’ll be doing something that meets a need, and it will cause the body to grow, since “when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love,” (Eph. 4:16).
6. Pray and Try
God wants you to use the gift(s) He’s given you, so if you ask him, and try to serve — don’t you think He will help you?