Suggested Reading: Nehemiah 3
The 80's gave us a unique brand of comedies. One of my favorites was a flick called The Three Amigos. Chevy Chase, Martin Short and Steve Martin all play silent-film actors who specialize in playing Mexican cowboy characters. When the studio fires them, they receive an invitation from a fan in need of help who doesn't realize that the movies are make-believe. The Amigos show up planning to do a short gig and skip town only to discover that they are facing down a real villain named El Guapo who is anything but handsome (guapo means handsome for my non-Spanish speaking friends out there). The Amigos find themselves outgunned and ready to desert the village El Guapo has come to terrorize, when they finally decide to dig their heels in. They rally the village together and try to take stock of the resources they have at their command. Martin Short's character asks the group of mostly old ladies and ancient men what they can do. "We can sew!" one of the ladies answers enthusiastically as the Amigos frown. But then they come up with a plan. When El Guapo returns, he finds an entire town of Amigos in newly sewn costumes, all ready to fight him.
Of course, it is a movie and so the ridiculous plan works. But the village's strategy reminds me of Nehemiah chapter 3. Nehemiah had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city-wall which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. He rallies the people to the cause and each person takes up the task where he lives. Chapter 3 lists out the areas where the various families worked, beginning with the Sheep Gate and then filling out the circle of the wall all the way back around to the Sheep Gate. Everyone who worked is mentioned, and even one group of nobles is called out for thinking they are too good to work.
In both stories, seemingly insurmountable tasks are accomplished simply because people do what they are capable of doing. The life of the body of Christ is supposed to be the same. God has given each of us different gifts for the purpose of building up God's kingdom and God's people. Sometimes, though, we begin to see our gifts and tasks as insignificant. Maybe we don't preach or lead worship or run the building committee. Maybe we think we are getting too old or that we are too young, too weak, or not knowledgeable enough. Sure, we have our own gifts and abilities. Sure we can spend time in prayer or bake cookies but…is that really enough to make a difference?
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul discusses the various gifts that the Spirit distributes to each of us, declaring that we are each members of the body of Christ and that each of our gifts serve a purpose. When considering that some gifts or roles may seem less important than others Paul says, "In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary." (1 Corinthians 12:22, NLT). Your spiritual gift, your role in the body of Christ, is not insignificant. Every gift is necessary.
Never underestimate how God can use the gifts given to you. You may not think much of yourself, but as a member of the body, the gift you've been given is essential to God's plan.