Impact Others in our Church
The Christian church should be one of the most awe-inspiring organizations on earth. People from every background and walk of life coming together in love and unity to worship God and serve others. People empowered by the Holy Spirit to give supernatural wisdom, compassion, and help to the watching world. People should be wowed by the church. If they’re not, why aren’t they?
It takes every one of us doing what Paul describes in Romans 12:1–8 before we can be the body that Jesus desires us to be. Today let’s think and pray about how we can impact one another in the family of God.
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
What gifts does Paul highlight here? How should they be used?
The gifts are what happens when the Spirit of God takes the living sacrifice offered by a believer and uses it for the good of the body of Christ. A believer’s dedication to God and their commitment to impacting others is demonstrated in the exercise of their spiritual gifts in serving others. According to verse 3, human pride is wrong because all natural abilities and spiritual gifts are from God. As a result, every Christian should have a proper sense of humility and an awareness of their need to be involved with other members of Christ’s body.
In verses 4-5, Paul explains that a parallelism exists between a believer’s physical body which has parts with differing functions, and the community of believers in Christ as a spiritual body. The point is that each member functions to serve the body, not the body to serve the members.
In the Greek, there is a word play in verse six, “Believers possess different charismata (“gifts”); but each one is the product of God’s charis (“grace”). It’s important for us to remember that the gifts Paul lists are just that, they are given to us by the Spirit to build up the body of Christ. They aren’t conjured up in our own strength or for our own purposes.
Paul lists different gifts of the Spirit in three of his letters: here in Romans, in 1 Corinthians, and in Ephesians. None of the lists are identical and only prophecy and teaching appear on all three. Paul is not giving us an exhaustive list.
Even though he mentions several gifts by name, Paul is leaving room for the Spirit to empower people to meet the specific needs of the body at a given place and time. “Whatever the Spirit prompts you to do for the good of others is a spiritual gift.” While God has created us uniquely with certain talents and abilities and it’s good to prayerfully seek God’s guidance as to how he might consistently use you in the body, we can get analysis-paralysis when it comes to gifting. Notice that Paul has stated things very simply and directly. If you have a gift, then use it, because you’re what the body needs. So, if you’re not sure what your gift is, show up and serve and see what happens!
The Spirit will do incredible things through those who are willing. I’ve seen a person who is usually quiet and shy boldly proclaim the gospel to a crowd. I’ve seen people who “aren’t good with children” bless the socks off some preschoolers. If you’re willing to be a “living sacrifice” and want to be used by God to impact others, you will be. The body needs you! How will you do your part?
How is the Spirit using you to bless the body of Christ? How has he gifted you?
Are you regularly serving in some capacity in your local church? If not, why not?
If you’re not involved in serving at Christ Fellowship, check out some of the opportunities at https://cfhome.org/nextsteps/serve-others/in-the-church/
 McKnight, Reading Romans Backwards, unpublished manuscript, 2018.
Take some time of personal reflection. What would you like to do? How has God wired you? What life experiences have you had that would prepare you for a specific ministry? The answers will vary from person to person. Praise God for how he has gifted you and ask him for the boldness to step out in faith an impact others in your church family.