Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK SEVEN
ORBIT – DAY THIRTY ONE
Hi, and welcome to a new week and a new month of Orbit, the devotional from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Each weekday we take a small piece of the Bible and try to apply what it means to our everyday lives. At the moment, we’re working our way through Paul’s amazing letter to the church in Rome.
BIBLE READING: Romans 12: 4-8
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 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; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 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.
Everyone is good at something. We can’t all throw a ball (I can’t, actually); we can’t all run long distances (me again) or speak fluently in another language (I can’t do that either). But every single one of us has strengths, skills and abilities that others don’t. Our different strengths – and weaknesses – are all part of what makes us uniquely us.
This is true when it comes to natural gifts and abilities, like being good at a certain school subject, or having a certain kind of brain that’s able to process lots of information; it’s also true of spiritual gifts. In God’s family, some of us are good at welcoming or encouraging others, or making a place feel hospitable; others of us are great at preaching or leading musical worship, and still others find that they can hear really clearly from God, or speak in tongues, or bring healing to others. All of us have at least one of these gifts, but no-one has all of them.
In today’s passage, Paul says that the family of God is like a body with many different parts. Just like a body has hands, feet, organs and features that are all different from each other, the church is made up of lots of very different people. But in order for the human body to function properly, all these elements need each other – and it’s the same for the church.
Paul often returns to this picture of the church – as a body – so it’s obviously one he wants us to remember and reflect on. The truth is that very often we under-estimate ourselves and our gifts; we downplay them and at the same time downgrade our importance within the church. But Paul says our gifts are all important – vital even – to the church family functioning as a whole.
The message here is clear: whatever your particular light is let it shine. Paul says that if we have a gift – and we all do – then we need to practice it, and put it to work for the sake of God’s Kingdom. God has given you amazing strengths and gifts: stop under-estimating them. As the poet Marianne Williamson wrote: “your playing small doesn’t serve the world.” Know your gifts, and use them!
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord God, I thank you for the gifts and strengths that you’ve given me, which are part of what makes me unique. I pray that you would give me the confidence to practice and grow in my gifts, and teach me to use them to build your Kingdom. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Sit down with a piece of paper – or a notes app if you prefer, and try to make a list of your gifts. If you find this hard, you might want to start by making a similar list for one or two friends – sometimes it’s easier to see the great qualities in others than in ourselves. But make sure you reflect on your own strengths too. What has God put in your hands? What has he enabled you to do that some others can’t? After you’ve made that list, spend some time praying, asking God to use you and your gifts for his purposes.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!