It’s very sad when someone does not understand their own worth. There have been a few times in the past when I have tried to encourage someone that they are valuable to others, and especially to God. However, once a person understands what their gifts and talents are, and how God is able to use them, a new light shines in their eyes. A new purpose is awakened in their heart.
What is just as sad to me is when a team of people do not understand how their gifts and talents were given to them to work together for God’s good. 1 Corinthians 12 Paul is writing to a group of believers in conflict with one another. These Christ followers probably wanted the same outcomes, but did not realize how their different strengths could work together to accomplish that goal. Paul writes the following;
12 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. 13 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.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 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 a part of the body. 16 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. 17 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? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Each part of the team is necessary and indispensable. We need each person to fulfill the work given to us by God. As the scripture says, there may be weaker parts, but they cannot be done away with. (vs 22)
The leader of a team needs to know his or her own gifts and talents, and then to learn those of each team member. It is also helpful for each member of a team to discover their own gifts, and talents and then to share their discoveries about themselves with the other team members. This way, the team is able to work together. This knowledge makes it easier not to expect more from the other members than they are able to fulfill. Tasks and responsibilities are then able to be shared for the benefit of the outcomes in mind.
Do I know myself well enough so that I lead from my gifts and talents?
Do I know the team I serve with so that I am able to understand how they are able to best serve?
Has anyone ever treated you special, or spoken words of encouragement that were just what you needed? Being affirmed in our efforts can make a real difference in how we approach the tasks we need to accomplish, or our ministries. Affirmation can give us the confidence we need and can empower us to carry on with our work.
Jesus knew how to treat his friends and disciples. He knew how to encourage their hearts. He demonstrated how to empower others.
Jesus took Peter, James and John with him to a special place for a very special event. We read in Luke 9:28-36 that Jesus took these three disciples up into the mountain to pray. If you have ever spent time with close friends for a time of prayer you know how powerful and precious that time can be. I’m trying to imagine being there that day. Knowing my temperament, I know I would not have voiced what Peter did, but I certainly would have wanted the same thing that Peter wanted. Peter had the courage to say just what was on his mind. “Lord, let’s just stay right here and never leave. This is so wonderful, let’s build ourselves some houses and not go back down off this mountain.” I know - I’ve taken liberties with this quote.
The point is, Jesus took special time with these precious friends with whom He was ministering.
Jesus included them in this mountain-top experience and the knowledge that He had confidence in their capabilities as leaders and influencers in the world surely empowered them.
Not long after Jesus had taken Peter, James and John on their private road trip, Jesus gathered 70 workers. He instructed them to go out two by two “into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.” (Luke 10:1b) He sent them out with several words of encouragement and direction.
I need to ask myself:
Debi Snider... more