In the past few months we’ve talked about identifying our spiritual gifts & having dreams for God. I want to expand on this from something I learned at a men’s retreat with my Dad 2 weekends ago.
I’ve come to believe even more strongly that God has a personal vision for us, that he created each one of us for a specific role and mission. It may be big and public, like an evangelist or minister, but more likely it’s smaller and less known – an encourager, friend, listener, inspiration, teacher.
Let’s look at some verses:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
This passage says that we are each given a manifestation of the spirit for the common good. It then goes on to say that that manifestation comes in a variety of ways and is different for each of us. Knowledge, faith, healing, prophesy, etc. We all posses some of them, in varying ways.
The interesting and amazing thing is that God has set it up this way on purpose. We do not all have everything the church needs, some are strong in one area and weak in another, others are reversed. You have a gift and strength that I do not.
This is for the good of the church, take a look:
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.”
(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
We all have a role to play on the church. My role is different than yours and they are both different than DG or JB or SL or … We do share some common roles such as loving each other, seeking the lost, etc., but we all may not even do those things in the same way.
This passage says that God has given us all gifts, first the gift of grace, and then gifts of service to the church. It talks about specific, ‘high profile’ roles in the church, but I believe that this applies to all of us. We are called to fill a role that only we can fill. He designed you, equipped you, do be a certain person for the good of the church. Look back to 1 Corinthians 12:
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged 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.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
1 Corinthians 12:14-30
Just as our body needs all of it’s parts to function properly – hands, feet, eyes, ears, intestines, lungs, etc – so the church needs all of it’s members to function as God intended it. Yes, the human body can function if some parts are missing. Blind and deaf people get by; you can remove a lung or a kidney and keep going. But usually, it hampers the person’s abilities. They can get by, but they’d likely do better if they were whole. So it is with the church, we will survive if were are all evangelists or teachers or encouragers, but we’d do better if we each filled the role given us to serve the church.
So, who are you meant to be? What has God made you? Do you know? If you do, are you doing it or are you following your own agenda? I know, like I shared last month, I don’t believe that I’ve done well at filling mine. I believe I’m meant to be with people, to encourage and strengthen the weak and care for the flock, not sit in my home alone. I’ve noticed that God has given me the ability and the heart to strengthen the weak. I feel it with in me. When I sense someone is hurting or struggling, I want to get involved, to fix it. In several cases, I’ve found that just being with folks and listening, they go away encouraged. I honestly don’t know why, it’s certainly not the words I say, they are few most times, or any grand advice, many times I tell them I don’t know what to say. But somehow, God has enabled me to be an encouragement and a strength to them in their time of need. That is who I am meant to be, who God created me to be.
The bottom line is that God created you for a purpose as well, if you refuse that purpose there’s no one else to do it. If I refuse to be Doug, the Doug that God created me to be, no one else can be Doug. The same is true for you, for all of use. No one can fill our shoes if we refuse.
This requires us to stay in tune to, and listen for, God’s spirit. That’s not easy to do. It takes quiet meditation, prayer, discernment, Godly advice. So, listen, what is God calling you to?