For the past few months, my husband has been working on a very complicated Star Wars puzzle. It's one of those where each individual piece is a stand alone scene, but when connected, the individual images form a larger more extravagant picture. Each time he pulls out the puzzle, which is housed on a large piece of poster foam board, this look of great expectation covers his face. He takes it to our lime green plastic kids table that also doubles as our coffee table, and begins to work on it. He'll emerge from his focused state a few hours later and proudly show me the 10 or so pieces he's been able connect. 10. Pieces. I'll be honest. I gave up on puzzles a really long time ago. Had I been the one trying to do this puzzle, it would have been boxed up in matter of seconds and placed on a shelf to be forgotten. I just don't have the mental stamina to work on something like that. But he does. He'll occasionally invite me to join him at the table but I'll politely decline. "Puzzles just aren't for me," I'll say.
Made for What?
We've recently begun a conversation at Legacy called Made for This. In LifeGroups, we are diving deep into spiritual gifts and personality profiles. I'm not new to spiritual gifts but something is different this time. As we've been challenged to look at these inventories with fresh eyes, I'm experiencing things I've not encountered before. My top two gifts were exhortation and mercy. I wasn't really surprised with exhortation until a friend asked me to explain what it meant. I started with confidence, "It's encouragement." But then I stumbled, "Well, I think that's what it means? It's admonishing the body. Yes. That's it. Maybe?" The wheels in my mind began to spin. I realized that although I had always confidently pulled out my spiritual gift stats to share with others, I really didn't know what they meant, let alone how to use them. I mean, how do you use the gift of mercy, anyway? And how does it collectively affect the body of Christ? How do you use mercy on a Sunday morning? Can you use mercy in the car line or at the grocery store?
Stick Figure VS. Complex Tapestry
I used to think of the Body of Christ from a preschooler's perspective. You have the circle head with oval eyes and a triangle nose and a line smile. Draw a stick for the body. Draw a heart and stick hands and round shoes. Done.
I am learning that it is so much more complicated than that. We are complex human beings and each of us have gifts and beautiful personalities that make up the stunning tapestry of Christ's body. Just like science is constantly making discoveries about the human body, we too should be exploring how each beautifully crafted person fits in to the anatomy of the bride of Christ.
We are called to be co-cultivators. Our gifts work in tandem with one another. We are unique puzzle pieces that, when connected, make up a remarkable image. The image of Christ. It would be easy for me to look at my individual piece, admire the gifts I possess and then put them right back in the box when this series concludes. That would be much easier. What I choose to do, however, is study my gifts and figure out how they connect with others. What if we all did that? I wonder how it might change the trajectory of Legacy. Imagine how it could impact Plano and the surrounding areas if we were all living and serving in our strengths. How could we impact the workplace, our neighborhoods and schools if we were working in harmony to point others to Christ?
For me, it starts by asking questions like:
- How does my gift of exhortation connect to my husband's gift of giving?
- How can I help my friend use her gift of hospitality in the church?
- How can I encourage my friend who has the gift of teaching to find his teaching niche within the body?
These are all questions I will be wrestling with in the next few weeks as I embrace this complicated puzzle. There's room at the table. Will you join me?
Made for this,