April 7, 2019 • Life for Leaders
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
1 Corinthians 12:4-7
According to Scripture there are many members, but only one body. Likewise there are many gifts, but there is only one calling. Furthermore, the Bible states that there is one hope that belongs to the calling that we have collectively received (Ephesians 4:4). Many callings in one body would result in a disjointed and divided system; the many members function together in harmony to fulfill one major goal.
What is our collective calling as outlined in God’s Word? What is the overarching goal that we are to work together to promote? This calling is to the ministry of reconciliation.
I believe that the ministry of reconciliation entails two parts: (1) salvation and (2) sonship. Reconciliation is the ability to bring restoration to the broken fellowship between God and humanity, and to restore humanity to our proper status enjoyed in Eden. What’s interesting about our call is that those who are called must commit all that they are for the sake of the end goal.
We easily praise the effective work of Jesus Christ’s bloodshed on the cross without considering the fact that we must also bear a cross ourselves. Whether it is rebuilding race relations, negotiating peace between nation-states, or brokering relations among estranged family members, reconciliation is a messy and often-times bloody process.
While we all share the same calling, the body of Christ is filled with a diversity of gifts. Each one of us is uniquely gifted in one or more areas of life. We are good dancers, writers, athletes, singers, chefs, financiers, etc. While there are a diversity of gifts, they are all made to be complementary to each other. No one gift can show the full picture of Christ or express the full capability of the Kingdom. We need every gift operating together, and at full capacity, to help broaden the reach of reconciliation.
I frequently visit Georgetown Cupcakes, which became famous from the TV show D.C. Cupcakes. When I go to Georgetown Cupcakes, I go with the goal of purchasing and eating cupcakes. Once the money is supplied, it is the collective responsibility of D.C. Cupcakes to deliver the product. However, everyone will play a different role in fulfilling that overarching goal.
The cashiers are at the frontlines receiving the money and taking customer orders. The type and quantity of cupcakes are relayed to the kitchen staff. In the kitchen, there are those gifted in making the batter for each specific cupcake. Then, there are those who are skilled in baking the cupcakes and icing them, making them both delectable and appealing to the eye. Finally, the cupcakes are sent to the front of the store to be packaged in boxes uniquely designed with the D.C. Cupcake brand. Each department functions in sync with one another to fulfill the major calling of providing me with a cupcake.
This same system of operation holds true for the Kingdom. We have one calling, but different roles to play within it. So the better question is not “What are you called to do?” but “What is your function?” What role do you play in the Kingdom call of reconciliation? What is your part in fulfilling the ultimate mandate that is on the body of Christ to reconcile humanity back to fellowship with God?
When God commissioned Moses to return to Egypt to advocate for the deliverance of the Israelites, Moses began to voice his concerns to God. Moses understood his mission, but his problem was understanding how he would achieve success. What tool would he use to accomplish God’s will? How would he function? God responded by asking a simple question: “What is that in your hand?” (Exodus 4:2). In asking this question, God was really requiring Moses to assess his capabilities. He wanted Moses to figure out his functionality.
What are your strengths? What are you good at? What tools have you already been given to help you carry out our mandate as ministers of reconciliation? You must figure out your functionality so that you can determine what your Kingdom contribution is to God’s plan. You have something to offer God and this world, something that sets you apart from every other person, yet is complementary to every other gift out there. Like Moses’ rod, your gift may seem inadequate to you. It may make you feel vulnerable and thus, like Moses, you don’t like to exercise this functionality because it is uncomfortable. However, it is still the gift that God has given you to affect His world. The sooner you find your functionality, the quicker you will be able to find the place where you fit in.
God, teach me who I am in you. Show me what your will is and how I am supposed to function in your plan for reconciliation. Help me not to despise the gifts that you’ve given me and give me the heart to use these gifts for your glory. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Throughout my life, I’ve faced discrimination and hurtful words. By my own family- for being female. By the education system, for being poor. By the business world, for bring an Asian female. And most painfully, by the Christian Church, for being female. To see the word ‘sonship’ today was just one more reminder of that.