I Corinthians 12:4-30 — Funny, I don’t feel so special

For  a lot of people in the church, they see the giftings of others in the church and they get an inferiority complex.   They hear that God sees them as a special and as important to the body, but they just don’t see it. But time and again, Paul points out to each one of us just how special we are in God’s sight.

He says in verses 4-6, “Hey, are you feeling inferior because the gifts others have seem superior to yours?  It’s not as if your gifts come from China and theirs come from Japan.  They both come from the same source, and they are both equally well made and valuable.

“And it’s not like you’re working for McDonalds and they’re working for the President of the United States.  The same Lord that has given them their duties has given you your duties.

And it’s not as if God has delegated an angel to help you with your work while he himself is helping others with their work.  God is working in you just as much as he is working in them.”

Still, some people almost feel like God made a mistake when making them, and so he just threw up his hands after making them and said, “Well, I have to do something with them, so I guess I’ll put them there.” But as I mentioned yesterday, verse 18 clearly tells us that was not the case.  Rather,

God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. (18)

I don’t think there’s any way you can take from that passage that God made some kind of mistake when he made you. More, when we look at the context of that verse, we see Paul saying,

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…If they were all one part, where would the body be?  (17, 19)

In short, you’re right where God wants you to be.  Because of that, there’s no way anyone can rightfully say of you, “I don’t need you.”  Rather, you are indispensable to the body.  (21-22)

You may hear that and think, “I’m not indispensable.  Anyone can do my job.” That may or may not be true.  But let’s put it this way.  Your toes can probably do some of the things your fingers do, so technically, you may not need your fingers.  But your toes can in no way do the job of your fingers as effectively.

And maybe technically, you don’t really need two arms, you only need one.  But if you only have one, your remaining arm can become fatigued from overwork and start to lose its effectiveness. Sure other people may be able to do the same thing you do, but if they don’t have your gifting, they can’t do it as effectively.  And even if they have the same gifting as you, even if they have it in larger proportions, if you are not doing your part, however small, to relieve the pressure, they can get tired and burn out.

So use the gifts that God has given you, whatever they may be.  God has placed you where you are for a reason.  Don’t let anyone despise you and don’t you dare despise yourself either.

As one person inelegantly but correctly put it, “God don’t make junk.” How do you see yourself within the body of Christ?


About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: crossroad-web.com 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください: crossroad-web.com
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2 Responses to I Corinthians 12:4-30 — Funny, I don’t feel so special

  1. I agree totally. Most people laud the platform gifts because they get bestowed much more honor. I wrote about Honor before and think it’s so powerful when everyone gets honored for, not just what they do, but who they actually are. Very few of us get legitimized in Church. This may be somewhat controversial, and may be wrong, but some of it may be tied to volunteering. No one’s time and effort is worth anything, I know it’s not about materialism but it would legitimize what others do without always hearing “Your reward is in Heaven.” I may be wrong but the thought just occurred to me.

    • bkshiroma says:

      I’m not exactly sure what you’re saying.

      If you’re saying that volunteers are not always appreciated, that’s probably true. There are probably many churches where volunteers are taken for granted. To be sure, we need to honor and appreciate all who work in the church. It’s an encouragement to them as well as being something I believe Jesus would do. He never took anyone for granted.

      That said, I’ve served in the church in some capacity, whether it’s teaching children, giving the Sunday message in the worship service, and also helping with the finance team for 30 years or so. Only for one brief period in my life was I ever given money for doing any of that. But for me, my main concern is not the money, or the appreciation I received from others, much as it’s wonderful to receive those things.

      For me, I’ve been given a trust by God, and I need to be faithful to it. And for me, it’s a joy to be able to serve.

      And if a person doesn’t have that perspective, they probably shouldn’t be serving.

      Now if you’re looking to make your living from the gospel, that is, you want to be able to dedicate your whole life to it and not be sidetracked by other things, then I think it’s fine to try to find a paying position within the church. The question then becomes can the church afford to pay you that way. If not, and you really feel like this is your calling in life, maybe God is calling you to serve elsewhere. And that’s fine.

      But I think I would have a real problem with someone saying, “I don’t feel respected because I’m not getting paid for what I do in the church.” Or with someone who is overly concerned with “getting the respect they deserve.”

      Ultimately, our attitude as we serve should be as Jesus said: “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'” (Luke 17:10)

      So I think there’s a balance there. From the leaders’ standpoint, we need to appreciate the volunteers in the church. For many churches like the one I’m a part of, they are crucial if the church is going to thrive. Part of being a godly leader is appreciating those God has given them and treating them as Jesus would.

      From the volunteer’s standpoint, they shouldn’t be so concerned about being “legitimized.” They should be more concerned about being faithful, knowing that God will take care of their reward in his time.


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