Have you ever had to work on a team with people who just didn’t work well together? We’ve all seen how detrimental it is when a team simply cannot get in sync; the results can range from missing a deadline at work to getting a failing grade on a project to losing the game when things just broke down. I am, by nature, not a team player. I am competitive and driven; I want to win and don’t like to be let down by others. If I do my best but the rest of the team fails, I still think that I should win because I’m the best. It’s a very flawed way of thinking, and something I am having to constantly relearn.
The other day at work I was able to see the importance of a team, something that warmed my heart immensely. One of my co-workers has been wrestling with making some important decisions and was talking it over with us. Before we went back to work, I asked one team member who has a wonderful prophetic gift, to pray for her right then. That’s the beauty of working a church, you can stop what you’re doing and do ministry. In that moment, when my prophetic friend began to operate in her gift, the entire atmosphere changed. It was beautiful; our entire team was blessed because we allowed one team member to use the gifts God has placed inside of her.
This encounter was the perfect example of what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12: 14-27:
“The body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being 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 stop being 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 placed 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 put the body together, giving 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.”
I love how spot on this analogy is! In the human body even the most seemingly unimportant parts play a huge role in our lives. If you’ve ever had a problem with your pinky toe, you quickly realize how vital it is for you to walk and balance. This is one of the most overlooked body parts, you don’t notice it until there’s a serious problem. Likewise, there are small bones in the inner ear that we don’t even think about until you begin to have trouble hearing or have vertigo because of a bone being just a little off kilter.
You might feel like you’re a pinky toe or a bone in the inner ear, body parts that can be so easily overlooked, but know that you are important to God. You, with your specific gifting and life experience, are valuable to the Body of Christ. It’s so tempting to look at the gifts of others and become envious of what they have or have been afforded. But that’s the wrong perspective, thought it is an easy trap to fall into. Instead of being jealous of another person, what if we devoted that energy toward practicing and honing the gift that God has given us? I believe the world would like drastically different if the Body of Christ began functioning as it was created to do, each person operating in their gift, instead of becoming jealous or playing the imitation game.
What’s one practical thing you can do this week to practice the gifts that God has given you? How can you use your influence, your story, your skills, your passion, to help someone else and honor God this week? Let’s commit to being the Body of Christ, helping those around us, and encouraging others to hone their gifts as we practice ours.