During the nine-week Flagship programme this year many people from different cultures and nationalities enjoyed working together on a 4,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. But what a trauma it was to discover the final piece was missing! Andrew, our host, used his ingenuity and made a fake piece from card and coloured pens, which fitted in exactly. From a distance it looked OK, but you could see it wasn’t quite right if you went close up to it.
Another giant jigsaw was undertaken, and this time all the pieces were there, but the last piece wouldn’t fit in the only space remaining. Why was that? Well someone had mistakenly squeezed a similar looking piece into the wrong place. Once it was removed and replaced by the correct piece, all the pieces fitted perfectly, and the picture was complete.
Each of us is a piece in a giant jigsaw, the Body of Christ. Each of us is important. If we aren’t fitted into the unique place designed for us, the jigsaw is incomplete. Our gift to the Church is then missing. The apostle Peter says that each Christian believer has been given a gift. The important thing is to use it to bless others. He mentions speaking and helping. They are just examples. We could find an infinite variety of other gifts given to God’s people.
Some Christians suffer from a sense of unworthiness and think they aren’t good enough to do anything in Church. They hide their light under a bushel. They think everyone else is more talented and skilled than they are, and so leave it to others to contribute to the Church community. Sadly, one or two people then end up carrying too heavy a burden of responsibility.
Perhaps we think of the nine spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians Chapter 12; wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, discerning of spirits, prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues. Or maybe we think of the ministry gifts of Ephesians Chapter 4; apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Then there are the motivational gifts in Romans Chapter 12; prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, administration, and mercy.
But we could expand our understanding of gifts, and we could include things like hospitality, playing music, singing, intercessory prayer, making colourful banners, painting, cooking, writing, playing football, and interpreting. This would probably only just be scratching the surface of the enormous variety of gifts and talents God has given to us all to bless others with.
Some of these gifts are given to non-Christians too, but, for Christians, the difference is that we do everything for the glory of God through Jesus Christ. There should be no conceit or pride involved, and we do it all in love. Our ‘natural’ gifts then become spiritual gifts.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that each one of us has been given at least one spiritual gift from Your great variety of gifts. Help us to identify our gifts, and use them to bring glory to You, and to bless others. Amen.
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