“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Not too long ago, one of my closest friends expressed to me that he was concerned I was spreading myself too thin in various ministries in our church. He told me that if I attempted to focus on every ministry that was shorthanded and tried to fill every needed position, I would become ineffective in all the ministries that I was a part of. Me, rarely ever thinking rationally right off the bat, took serious offense to his words. I was ready to prove him wrong; I failed in my attempted try. It didn’t take me long to recognize the sincere truth in his words. As I attempted to do so many different tasks in different ministries, I noticed my heart changing. I was tired. I was frustrated. I was overwhelmed. I was short(er)-tempered. I was growing ineffective.
I had allowed my judgment to hinge on needs in ministries, desire for control over certain aspects in some ministries, and what others would think if I didn’t (or did) step up. I use “step up” loosely. By stepping up in some areas, I tumbled head first downhill in others. When it comes to ministry, there is one area that I fall so short in. I rarely say “no.”
I feel that I too often agree to go along with whatever I’m asked of. The word NO just doesn’t seem to exist in my vocabulary when I’m asked on-the-spot to do something in ministry, when I see a need, or when I notice something needs done. I freeze in time. Too much. Too little time. Where to start? How to finish the task?…and the list seems to always continue when I stress about what I’ve committed to once it is too late to let go of the commitment.
More recently, I’m learning to say “no” and am taking action on my shortcoming. Romans chapter 12 explains that not every member of the body of Christ has the same function; we all have different spiritual gifts that are unique to the individual we were created by Christ to be. We weren’t created to do everything. With “sober judgment,” I now see where the apostle Paul is leading his message here in Romans.
We were created to use spiritual gifts unique to us to further the Kingdom of God in ways that he has gifted us. When I understood, what Paul was explaining in this passage, it was a smack in the face. More like a punch, but it worked. I’m realizing more and more each day what my own spiritual gifts are. More times than not, I’m learning what my spiritual gifts are not.
One spiritual gift that I genuinely feel that the Lord has instilled in my heart is discipleship. I love living life with young girls just as Christ did with his disciples. As a teenager and young adult, I was discipled by an older friend who truly showed me what it was to live as Christ did. I want to be that for other young girls who are in the same shoes I once wore.
On Sunday nights, after church, I take a few high school girls to dinner and we talk, pray, and share life. Sometimes we laugh. Sometimes we poke fun. Sometimes they leave my number on receipts for a cute waiter after we leave. Sometimes we share in one another’s pain and cry. Age isn’t a number with us. While they are 15, I am 23. Different stages of life don’t hinder us. While they are in high school, I’m in my second attempt of college. We live life together. That’s discipleship. I love it.
Since realizing that the primary ministry the Lord has intended for me to pursue during this season of my life, I devote my main focus on my discipleship groups. If asked to do something during the times that I meet up with my girls, I kindly respond “no” and explain that I’m already busy with a ministry. This isn’t a bad thing. As long as we believers are focused on the Kingdom and furthering the family of Christ, we will have no failures.
For myself, I failed and became ineffective when I was overachieving to have the most ministries under my belt and when I agreed to too much. Realizing that God created us all with spiritual gifts that influence the ministries we should take part in is key. For me, it is discipling my high school girls outside of church and showing them Christ’s love by living life beside them. I’m good with high schoolers. I can take tough jokes. I can pick them up when they need someone to talk to without judgment. I can take them seriously when they want. We just click. The personality God gave me was suited just for this season of life and I’m for sure where Christ wants me.