Working as a Unit

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 16, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

One of the most important things to understand in Christianity, let alone any business or organization, is that there are many different parts and each part must do its job for the whole together as one unit. Worldview Warriors blogger Steve Risner has written numerous posts about the different parts of our body and how each part is necessary for the whole body to work.

This concept is critical for any organization. I worked as a stocker and a sacker for a local grocery store and while I did not see it as much at the time, every person’s job was necessary to get the work done. We needed people in the front of the store checking all the purchases. We needed people in the aisles keeping the merchandize on the shelves. We needed custodians keeping floors and restrooms cleaned. We needed people working in the warehouse to keep our extra stock organized and stored so the stockers could easily get them. We needed managers to help direct things but also to make the decisions the regular employees could not make, including having access to the money for the cashiers. All these positions needed to be filled and each person needed to understand their job.

You name the organization and you will find a similar structure. A school needs teachers, coaches, special education instructors, department heads, custodians, administrators, and, yes, students… lots of students. The military has a structured organization or chain of command that enables order to get to the individual troops while maintaining the overall vision of the general.

And the church has the same concept and this is one of the themes of Romans 12:3-8. The church is also comprised of many parts but functions as one body. Paul then lists seven different primary spiritual gifts: prophecy, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, and mercy showing. Let’s briefly examine them.

Prophecy is often viewed as “telling the future,” but it is more than that. It is simply “telling what God is saying at the moment.” Prophets are not easy to get along with because they see things as black and white and they often don’t care what you think about it. I’m not knocking them, I’m just saying this is the type of personality they have.

Servers are those that love to work and love to do anything to help others out. They are often handymen and love to work with their hands. They are often not high-level intellectuals nor are they academic-based. They love a good hard day’s work. Teachers are pretty obvious. They teach. They are the academic type. They love the facts, they love the stats. And they love the trivia that no one else seems to care about. They are the ones that will research and look for the knowledge and head-level base for how we should act and behave.

Encouragers are the people that lift others up. They are often emotional based and they cannot stand it when people are grumpy. They always try to keep a positive spirit in the room. They are optimists and pick-me-uppers.

Givers are very generous with their resources. They are often very wise with how to manage their resources, particularly money. They can often work miracles with budgets and giving away large portions of money is not a problem to them. If there is a need, they are the first responders to meeting that need.

Leaders are also a challenge to get around with. They make their living by fixing things or building a project. Leaders are project-based and not often people-based. They have the project in their minds and will direct people to get the project done. They tend to be perfectionists, and when the project is finished, they look for the next one to start or fix up.

Mercy-showers are the compassionate people. They won’t blame anyone for anything, but will rather seek to restore and rebuilt. They are similar to encouragers, but this is not emotionally based. Mercy-showers see a broken person and move to see that person healed, rebuilt, and back on his/her feet.

So how does all this work together? We cannot have a church of prophets, or a church of encouragers, or a church of teachers. We need some of everything. And we need each person who has their primary gift doing their job. One of the big problems is that very few are doing their job. A general “rule of thumb” in the church is that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. Just look around in your church. Is this generally the case? Don’t change churches just because of this, because you’ll find this in most of them. Instead, make sure you are not part of the 80% not doing anything.

Each person with each gift needs each other. The prophets need mercy-showers because the prophet will call it the way it is, while the mercy-shower will strive to pick up the pieces the prophets tend to leave behind (and necessarily so). Mercy-showers need prophets to call sin as sin so the person can deal with the root of the problem. Servers need leaders. Servers know how to work, but they need a leader to see the overall project and show them where they can work. Leaders need servers to help them carry out the project. That being said, both need encouragers to help keep the peace. We need teachers who can take the standards of truth and the facts and pass them on. We need givers who can manage the resources and help the leaders know what they have to work with.

The list goes on and on and on. Everyone has a job to do and everyone needs each other make the whole system work. But none of this works if we live according to our flesh, according to how the world says we should act. Remember the backdrop leading up to this verse: Romans 12:1-2. Present yourselves as living sacrifices. Do not conform to the pattern of this world. The body of Christ will not function properly if its parts are focused on what each one wants to do. It will function properly if we get where we are supposed to be and do the job we are supposed to do. How do you know what your job is? What do you seem to find yourself doing? The more I’ve learned, I find myself as a teacher. I still have pieces of the other gifts, but my primary one, at least in how I am functioning, is teaching. What is your gift?

And let us not forget who the head of the Body is: Jesus Christ. Just like our brain is what guides and directs how our body functions, so does Jesus guild and directs how his body functions. As your heart and your lungs listens to your brain, we should listen to Christ. When we obey Christ, everything works smoothly.

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