“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body . . . We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:4-8
Do you ever feel like you’re being hindered from fully using the spiritual gift or gifts God has given you? Or maybe you feel like you’re being pressured to serve within the church—within the body of Christ—in a way you’re not gifted for? This can happen in your local church body or in the larger family of believers—maybe even including your own personal family or friends.
The verses above are from a well-known passage that exhorts us as believers to use the gifts God has given us. They teach us to fulfill our role in the body by serving God and others with the abilities God has individually equipped us with. For the body to function well, we each need to do what God intends.
When I read this passage not long ago, I saw it in a slightly different light as well. This time I saw how we are to allow others—to let others—use their specific gifts. If a brother or sister in Christ has the gift of teaching, we should let him teach. If his gift is giving, we should let him give generously, if encouraging, let him encourage, and so on.
What a wonderful reminder to allow others to be the individuals God designed them to be. We should not hold one another back from fully expressing and carrying out our God-given gifts.
For example, my husband Don has the gift of giving, and I have a tendency to apply the brakes at times. I know part of my role as his wife may be to help provide a voice of balance, but I also need to be ready to let him give and give generously. I need to let him use the spiritual gift God has given him.
Not only should we allow others to use their uniquely God-given gifts, we must also be careful not to try force them into roles not intended for them. This will lead to frustration for all concerned. It will also keep a person who is gifted for the role from serving because the position is filled. In addition, we must remember that just because a program or ministry is important to us, it doesn’t mean that everyone else should be passionately committed to it. We all have different roles—which may, in fact, even last only for a season.
Let’s ask ourselves if there is someone in our lives we need to give the grace of freedom to. Someone we need to let be the person God’s gifted him to be, to do the thing He’s called him to do. Let’s let others serve the way God intends.
“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?” 1 Corinthians 12:17
*How has God gifted you?