Written by: Sarah Walker
After moving across the province, we just bought our current house this past summer. We live within a subdivision in a small town. Apparently, the previous owners of our home both had a PhD in botany. Because of this, a huge section of our backyard was a very skillfully maintained vegetable garden. Planted within this garden that we inherited was zucchini, cherry tomatoes, snow peas, hot peppers, eggplant, mint, garlic, shallots, dill…and much more!
Amongst all of the produce were lots of bees, toads, snakes, bunnies, and bats, all nestled in the many leaves and vines and bushes – all living and thriving in our little fenced-in yard. Some of these creatures (like the bees) were needed to spread pollen around and encourage growth; some (like the snakes) kept larger predators away; some (like the toads and bats) ate the insects that might destroy our harvest. In the midst of all of this animal activity, we received a bounty of produce! Our garden was strategically designed and maintained by botanical experts in order to both draw in, and also repel, certain animals and insects, creating a perfect ecosystem for crosspollination, protection, and growth, in order to reap maximum harvest!
Each and every piece of nature is beautiful and complex in its own right – but it also has a job to contribute to the bigger picture of its environment.
After I first came to Jesus, I never thought about what my giftings were. I just tried to help out in anyway that I could! As I watched my friends, it became clear where their talents lied. Some were teachers, leaders, artists, helpers, and singers. Their giftings were obvious to anyone who watched them for a while!
Sometimes as I watched my friends really shine in their talents, I would start to envy them and wonder why I didn’t have those qualities. This is especially the case with singers. I love music and lyrics and worship and I have always desired to sing, but – I have a horrible singing voice and so that will just never be in my wheelhouse!
However, when I start to focus on what I don’t have, I forget to remember the qualities that I do!
Paul the Apostle compares the Church to a human body, even calling us the “body of Christ:: “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)
Paul says that we are all apart of the body of Christ, whatever our contribution may be. Whether we are an eye, an ear, or a hand, the point is that we are all individuals with different talents and abilities, but when we come together, bringing our own talents to the table, we together form an entire working body.
How often do we see someone else’s gifts and think that ours don’t measure up? We all can’t be the worship leaders or preachers or leaders, because without the help of children’s workers, greeters or the faithful prayer team our churches would cease to function.
I love how Paul goes on to say, “…. Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (1 Corinthians 12:22)
I have been in various leadership positions in a handful of churches now, and within each church there are people that were born to lead. Others are naturally drawn to their ability to set vision, lead and teach. Leaders get a lot of attention, but there is a much larger population of the church that works quietly behind the scenes. They are the ones who make Sunday mornings happen through sound ministry, children’s ministry, greeting and ushering, multimedia, cleaning, and many, many other things! Although often not in the spotlight, these are the ones who roll up their sleeves and use their talents to help the leader’s vision come to fruition.
The botanists who created my garden knew where and what to plant in order to attract the right creatures to help make their garden flourish. This is the same way that God has ordered His Church. He created everyone with a unique set of skills and abilities; as we come together, we all play an important role in advancing His kingdom.
You were given were given a unique set of talents and spiritual gifting. You were created to fulfill a crucial role within your church and community. Even if you feel like your contributions aren’t as high-profile as others, it is important to remember that, according to Jesus, you are indispensable!