3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.[b] 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.
A dozen years ago, I was fired from serving— at church. Technically, I was told to take a mandatory sabbatical from my volunteer position in children’s ministry, but it felt like I was fired.
In the weeks and months that followed I became an offended, angry and bitter woman who acted more like a child than a leader of children. I began gossiping about the staff members who dismissed me. I pointed out every weakness in them in order to convince myself (& others) of my superiority and subsequent righteousness over them. And when I prayed (ranted) to God, I believed that the blame rested entirely on their shoulders- and that they should be punished.
But, as the months turned into a year, my heart began to soften and I was finally able to listen to God.
And I realized that I needed to be fired.
The truth is, my motivation for serving was completely wrong. Sure, I was doing what church leaders told me to do:
“Don’t be a consumer Christian- SERVE”
“Find a ministry that has a need and fill it!”
“Its not about you, its about doing for others.”
I was using the talents God gave me to lead children’s worship. I was faithful to show up for meetings and practices. I trained other volunteers. I served almost every weekend…. during all 4 services. I enthusiastically sang and danced right up to my 40th week of pregnancy- and I only took a few weeks off after giving birth!
But I wasn’t worshipping God.
I was worshipping service.
I was offering “sacrifices” on the altar of ministry, but I didn’t love the One who sacrificed everything for me.
I read the bible occasionally.
I prayed even less.
I was neglecting areas of my relationships with my husband and our children.
I wasn’t submitted to other parts of the body of Christ.
So God allowed me to be fired to re-order my life:
- Love God.
- Love others (as I love myself).
- Make disciples.
My fellow disciple, let this be a warning to you: don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourself.
Are you loving God?
(If not, take a mandatory sabbatical and begin worshipping Him alone)
Are you really loving others?
Then use the gifts He has graciously given you:
(out of your fear of God– not man)
IF your gift is serving others- do it!
IF it’s prophesying, deliver it!
IF it’s teaching – preach it!
IF it’s encouraging, speak it!
IF it’s finances – give it!
IF it’s leading – do it!
IF it’s kindness – release it!