We all have a need to be useful
We all have a sense we have some purpose on this earth, and quite naturally, want our purpose to be fulfilled. We have gifts and talents, given by GOD, to support the fellowship of Believers. GOD has given some to be apostles, some prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers. Some are called to be watchmen, some to serve, still others to encourage. There are several lists of ways GOD has fashioned us to serve. See Romans 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12, Hebrews 2 for those lists.
As I walk in the presence of the LORD, I offer myself to Him. Often that means surrendering my spiritual gifts to the service of others. Sometimes that offering is received; sometimes it is not. Sometimes fellow Believers are not able to see the gift or the offering, or if it is seen, it is not received. This is heart-breaking. There is a need, which we can fill — even offer to fill, but the one in need does not accept that support.
This must be heart-breaking for GOD as well: Prayer is offered up to Him, someone pleading for help. Help comes in the form of another Believer. Yet the help is undetected by the petitioner, or rejected because the form is not what is expected or “acceptable”.
How then do we walk in love and grace, honouring GOD, honouring others, when injustice or disappointment or lost opportunity arises?
What not to do
Do not take offence.
Do not blame, or complain.
Do not become hard-hearted.
What angered GOD when the Hebrews were in the desert was their complaining. Such behaviour is not the mark of a mature Believer.
What to do
Work it through with dignity and grace:
Seek GOD for another opportunity to use the gifts we have.
Past experience teaches us grace
Many years ago, as a quality singer and lover of GOD, I was on a worship team in my home church. Unfortunately, the team leader and I didn’t connect very well. That happens sometimes; we can’t naturally “get on” with everyone. But it caused me a lot of pain because I wanted to serve GOD with my abilities, and was frustrated and limited because the relationship with the leader was poor.
A wonderful minister within the church — not a leader but a fellow congregant — could see my suppressed pain.
He said, “When you are disappointed or frustrated, go to GOD first.” His wife, an equally mature and wise minister said, “You have a sweet spirit. Keep it.” I took away from that encounter that I was to pray when injured, and not to become hard-hearted.
Like all of us, I have taken some knocks delivered from within the Body of Christ. “Church” is our greatest source of pain, I think. But it is also our greatest source of support, as witnessed by these dear ministers.
It is a fact of our humanity, that we learn more from disappointment, failure and heartbreak, than we do from victory and success.
Because I took that advice to seek GOD first and to keep a sweet spirit, now I have become a minister. Such is the development of every Believer. We are children first, then young men, and finally fathers in the LORD (1 John 2).
It is a hard road
Being a follower of Jesus, serving in the Body of Christ, is often a thankless task. But our reward is in Heaven and our Father is pleased as we give, love and devote ourselves to service. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. One of his dearest friends, Peter, rebuked him for it. But Jesus stood fast. We are to humble ourselves to receive, just as we are to offer ourselves to serve.
Let us allow ourselves to be available, both as servants and as recipients of His grace and love, as we relate to others. This is preparation for us as his Bride.