As my partner, Rosean, recovers from her stroke, her physical therapist works with her to isolate particular muscle groups that are not responding well and to get them to fire. When they start to kick in, her overall ability to function improves dramatically.
Paul, in our reading today from his letter to the Romans, talks about how each of us has gifts to contribute to the body of which we are all a part, the Body of Christ. “We, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness,” he says.
This language of spiritual gifts is a foreign tongue for many of us. We don’t really think of ourselves as valuable contributors to our community of faith, nor do we imagine that we have spiritual gifts to offer to the world. The Body of Christ, of which we are members, is hobbling along without our participation. And we, like essential but sleeping muscles, need to be fired up so that the whole Body begins to function better.
God created us each to be the person we are — with talents and passions that need to be used. We are not what our family or culture dictates that we should be. Instead we have a unique purpose, whispered to us from the depths of our own hearts, where Christ dwells.
Today, use the passage from Paul’s letter to ask yourself where your spiritual gifts lie. You may say, “I’ve considered that before. I know what I’m good at.” But maybe it’s been awhile since you thought about it. You might be burnt out on some of what you do and anxious for a new direction.
Whether you come to this fresh or revisiting old ground covered, you may be surprised. You may have sleeping gifts. There may be things you’d like to do that you don’t feel invited to take up. You may feel that you need to be “humble,” and so you don’t share those things you’d be good at.
What do you do that makes your heart sing? When do you feel most alive? What have you always wished you could try? What do people say you are good at? About which of the world’s needs do you feel deep passion?
In this time of isolation it might be hard to think of yourself as part of a Body. But, despite the distance between us, we are, as Paul says members of each other. The more aware we are of who we are, the better the whole Body functions. With the nudging and the grace of Christ, we will fire up and become what we were always meant to be.