Yesterday we looked at Philippians and how Paul had learned to be content and we looked at what contentment can do for our lives, but mostly from a monetary and physical needs perspective. God desires so much more for us than for us to be cared for merely in the physical needs and monetary departments; God desires for us to be content in every situation to include our personal lives. I’m not talking about the physical things around us that help to give us an impression of safety; I’m referring to feeling fulfilled within life, being content with who you are and what you have been called to do.
We have all been called to do something, God has given us gifts through his Holy Spirit, He has given us desires, and He has whispered things into our hearts that only He knows. Each one of us has something different within us that we are called to do, different things that we are passionate about and long to share. We each have a role to play. I have wanted to be different people throughout my life, maybe not fully but definitely partially. There are certain aspects about different people that I wish I had. For instance, I would love to be more of a people person, someone who can strike up a conversation with anyone and be immediately liked. I used to work with a person just like this. He is a friend of mine and has characteristics about him that make him very personable and well-liked by almost everyone he comes into contact with. I’m sure though that if I asked him he could come up with some things about me and others that he wished he could emulate. I would venture to guess that we all have people that we would like to be more like in one way or another.
I had the opportunity to meet with a friend a couple of days ago who is a missionary in Mozambique Africa with his family and this exact topic came up. Jon and his wife Carla joined up with a local church in Mozambique and started a mission organization called Equip Mozambique. Their intentions are to build up the church in Mozambique by breaking the cycle of poverty through discovery, partnership, and empowerment of godly Mozambican leaders. There are many characteristics that the two of them share that I wish I had, characteristics that God has given them to make them successful in what they are doing. As Jon and I were talking over coffee we got on this very topic of wishing we could be like someone else, typically they would be called heroes or maybe even idols today. They are people we look up to and would like to emulate in some way or fashion, but the reality is that we are all different for a reason. Jon has characteristics about him that I desire, and maybe someday God will give them to me or give me an increase in those areas, but it will be on His time and for His purpose. If I was just like Jon we could likely accomplish a lot together, but then there would be a void in the areas that we are currently gifted. I am not Jon though and thus God has given me a different calling and different gifts.
The Kingdom of God is like a huge team in which we all have our specific positions that we are to play. Let’s just say we are playing football. If we all play in our proper positions and work together as a team, using our God given talents, with a common objective then we will be productive in what we are doing; however, if we all tried to be quarterback we would fail miserably. If we did not embrace our gifts and use them appropriately then we would fail miserably. If we were not working toward the same common goal we would fail miserably. Could you imagine being on a team in which everyone was going in a different direction? How much progress do you think would be made? Without a diversely gifted team with a united goal the progress would be minimal, and the same thing goes with God’s Kingdom.
Paul spoke of this in terms of the human body and how there are many parts. He said:
1 Corinthians 12:12-20
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing” If the whole body were an ear where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of the, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is there are many parts, yet one body.
God made us all different for a reason. Each one of us has a separate part to play within the body of Christ. There are certainly different traits that each of us may desire to be built up within us, but when God desires for us to have those traits He will begin to give them to us. Until then we must learn to be content right where we are, as we are. This can be difficult as we yearn for more. We think that if we were only like this or able to do that then we would be better suited for whatever purpose we believe we serve, but God knows exactly what we need and when we need it. One thing that you can be certain of is that God knows the plans that He has for you and all that He desires for you to learn along the way.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…
These words were spoken through the prophet Jeremiah to God’s people who were in exile. It was a promise by God that He would restore them after a period of time. It was a promise and a hope, an encouragement to trust in Him and to call on His name. God knows right where we are and He knows exactly what we need when we need it. He has plans to prosper us, plans that are good and not for evil. He has plans for our future that we may not know of. We must learn to be content in all things right where we are. This does not mean that we cannot be hopeful for certain things, but through prayer we must give them all to God and trust that He will deliver them to us when the time is right, knowing that the time may never be right for us to receive what we believe it is we need.
God made us just the way we are and each of us has a purpose as such, click here to learn more about your purpose in life. As Christians we are called to work together toward the goal of making disciples of all the nations, to baptize them, and to teach each individual to obey all the commands that He has given us (Mt. 28:18-20). We are called to unity within the body and because of such we each have a part to play and we must also rely upon our brothers and sisters to play their part. We cannot do it for them, we cannot make them do it, all we can do is pray for them and encourage them and do our part to the very best of our ability. Each member of the body is important and is essential for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. We must each spread the Word in any way that we can, we must love our neighbors in the good and the bad. We are not owed anything, but owe everything to God. We must learn to be who God has called us to be and realize that the world will not accept us because they did not accept Him. This does not give us permission to act in any way that is not honoring to God, but it does give us permission to be exactly who we are while praying for God to reveal more to us and to draw us closer to Him every day.
If this was helpful or encouraging to you please feel free to share it with others. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to make a comment. We all have a purpose and can be used to help others draw closer to God. God bless you in your journey to knowing Him deeper than before and accepting yourself with all of the qualities that God desires for you to have.
What exactly is church? Is it a building, is it the people, is it the representation of the body of Christ? I would submit to you that it is all of these things. So if this is the case and the church is represented as such then what should we find within the church? Paul in his letter to the Ephesians said this…
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
So if we are all one, working together in unity, then what does that look like? How is the body built to create unity? The reality is that there is a difference between a Christian and a pre-Christian, this is by design. We are called to live a holy life, but this does not happen overnight. As a Christian community we need to be a place where non-believers feel welcome and encouraged to come to seek out the answers that they are looking for, but we also need to be a place where all people within the body can grow and can work together to strengthen and encourage one another. Sometimes this means that we need to get down in the mess with people when their lives turn messy. So with this being said, what exactly do you think the church should look like? What should the living body of Christ look like? Please be respectful in your comments, but also be open in honest. I look forward to hearing what you all have to say and pray that this would be an encouraging and uplifting forum for us all to take a look at how our involvement fits within the context of unity within the body.