My friend Melody is simply the best cook in the world. She can make anything to perfection. Every time my family eats with her and her wonderful husband, we try to restrain ourselves, but we just can’t help it. We eat as if we haven’t been fed a decent meal in months. My kids think she is the Great Heroine of All Things Food.
In fact, this afternoon Adelade got a dreamy, far-away look in her eyes, and she said, I wish I had some of Melody’s tacos. Melody makes her own taco shells, y’all. And, you know what? When Adelade said that, she and I went through a long list of things that Melody makes that we wish we had sitting in front of us. Fajitas. Pork tenderloin. Lasagna soup. And, suddenly I wished that I could be more like her, the woman whose food that my ten year old dreams about.
It’s too bad you don’t have a mother who can cook like that, I said in a half-joking, half-longing way.
Adelade looked up at the ceiling the way she does when she’s thinking something over. Then she casually said, Yeah, but then it wouldn’t be special.
I laughed and told Adelade that she had just made me realize that my lack of cooking ability is actually allowing Melody to shine extra bright. I laughed. But, the truth of the idea has stuck with me.
What if this is how we looked at the body of Christ? What if this is how we viewed our own limitations and giftings? What if we were okay with the things we’re not that great at, because by not shining ourselves in some areas, we’re allowing someone else to shine?
What if we realized that the way to glorify God in our churches is to enjoy each other’s giftings and talents, without envy or inferiority complexes hindering us?
What if I just eat Melody’s tacos when I have the chance and revel in her God-given ability to feed people well?
It brings us great pleasure when God uses our strengths for the kingdom. And, it turns out He can use our weaknesses for the kingdom, too. Where we are weak, He is strong, and where we lack, He has designed some other member of the body to step in and shine. When we shine for Him, and when we allow others to shine for Him, He is glorified and the church finally works together the way it ought to. No jealousy. No beating ourselves up. No wishing God had made us differently. Just working in the ways that He has called us to, and appreciating all the ways He has called others to work.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. . .
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
-1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 15-20