Today's passage: I Corinthians 12
"But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased him."
Have you ever set up dominoes in a long line, gauging how best to space them so that when the first one is tipped, the rest tip over too? When I think about God setting the members of the body (not just our physical ones, but the church as a spiritual body), I think about how God puts us all where He desires, so that we can work together to accomplish His purpose. Everybody probably would want to be that first domino. After all, it has the closest contact with the tipper, it is the most noticeable. Everybody would probably want to be the last domino, because it is the indicator of success or failure. Few want to be the dominoes in between. But if it weren't for the dominoes in between, the first domino and the last domino would have no significance.
It is kind of like that in our churches. God gives some people talents, abilities, spiritual gifts that naturally lend to that person being noticed. People with creative talents are especially prone to this, and if they are anything like me, constantly wrestle with making sure God gets the glory. But not everyone can have those creative gifts. If they did, also like me, they would be scatterbrained, messy, critical, sometimes arrogant. With all the positive, there is plenty of negative. And although some people might think gifts of singing and teaching are "it", I can tell you, the pats on the back create a prideful being with which God is displeased. I would never call them a curse, but the more I'm noticed, the less God is, and that troubles me. I am forever battling whether to use certain gifts because I want to use what God has given me, but I also want Him to be glorified, not me. I am not trying to theorize that I am the lead domino, I just want people to understand that the gifts I have, although maybe sometimes more noticeable, aren't always the most glorifying to God. Instead, I believe the people with the least noticeable gifts, those middle dominoes, are the ones God has the most pleasure in. Think about the person with the spiritual gift of helps. This is the man in the church who will fix anything for anybody. She is the woman who brings meals to the elderly widows or visits with the church member residing in the nursing home. We don't see their actions, but sometimes have benefitted from them. How about the person with the gift of administration? How I wish I had that gift! I wish I could plan an event and every time it would go smoothly. What usually happens, is as much as I have thought through something, trying to account for every detail, I miss something. Every time I miss something, and I am not quick enough on my feet to change plans. The person with the gift for administration knows how to recover from these snafus and is able to keep the event going without a hitch. Sometimes we know the names of these people, but often we do not. And the person in charge will tell you, that they can not have been successful without delegating to many others.
What if some people do not use their gifts? It is kind of like when the line of dominoes are falling nicely but suddenly stop because the one domino is sitting just a bit out of reach. For some reason, it wasn't spaced properly causing the previous domino to miss hitting it, and therefore, the rest of the line of dominoes continues to stand. God sets us where He wants us. But if we move, if we shift forward, backward, left or right, even a tiny bit, it can throw off the whole operation. This does not frazzle God. He doesn't wring His hands wondering what is going to happen if we don't each play our part. Sometimes God shifts the line, sometimes he removes a domino completely. How sad would that be if I were the domino stubbornly refusing to fall down because I wasn't content with where God had placed me in the line. He puts us where He will get the most glory. Even though I wish I had certain gifts, I'm not going to withhold the ones I have been given because they aren't necessarily the ones I wanted. I can't speak for the weaknesses of other people's gifts, because I don't have those, but the person with the gift of helps or administration could tell you what they are. Usually you will not find those two gifts in the same person because the helps person is very person oriented, and the administrator is very task oriented. And we need them both! God knows how best to get a job done, and has given us the gifts that will accomplish that. If we recognize the spiritual gifts God has put in us, and accept the position we have been placed, when that domino line falls, nobody will look at the lead, and nobody will look at the end, they will look at the One who set up the line. That is what God has intended all along.