"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully." Romans 12:3-8
A missionary on furlough told this true story while visiting his home church in Michigan, "While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every two weeks I traveled by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies. It was a journey of two days and required camping overnight at the halfway point. On one of these journeys, I arrived in the city where I planned to collect money from a bank, purchase medicine and supplies, and begin my two-day journey back to the hospital. Upon arriving at the city, two men were fighting, and one was seriously injured. I treated his injuries and told him about Jesus Christ. I then traveled two days, camped overnight, and arrived back home without incident.
Two weeks later I repeated my journey. When I arrived back at the city I was approached by the young man whom I had treated. He told me he knew I carried money and medicines. He said "Some friends and I followed you into the jungle, knowing you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs. But just as we were about to jump your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards!"At this I laughed and said that I certainly was all alone out in that jungle campsite. But the young man pressed the point, saying, "No Sir, I was not the only person to see the guards. My five friends also saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those 26 armed guards that we were afraid and left you alone."
At this point in his message, a man in the audience jumped to his feet and interrupted the missionary and asked the exact day that incident happened. The missionary told him - and the man excitedly told THIS story - "On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here, and I was preparing to play golf. I was about to tee off when I felt the urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging of the Holy Spirit was SO STRONG, I called men to meet me here to pray for you. "If you were here with me that day to pray please stand up?" The men who met together to pray stood up. The missionary wasn’t really concerned with who they were - but he wept as he counted their number -You guessed it - there were 26!
In these verses of Romans 12, Paul urges the believers with the importance of knowing the part they are to play in the local church AND to make sure they play that part. The part you should play is determined by the spiritual gift you have been given. Discover it and then faithfully use it by serving in the church.
Those 26 men in Michigan who had the gift of intercession were faithful to play their parts and they saved the life of their missionary friend!
How do you discover your spiritual gift?
One way is to volunteer for a variety of areas in your church where you can serve discover what you enjoy doing and what you don't. You can also find out where you are effective and where you aren't.
Look back over your weeks and months or years of serving God in the church and see where you have made a difference. Talk with your pastor and see what he thinks your gifts might be. Where you have seen spiritual fruit develop from your ministry is a good indication of your giftedness.
Ask your pastor if he has a spiritual gift inventory that you can take to help you identify your gift(s). At FredWes, that is part of our membership training class. Everyone who joins our church as a member know what his gifts are and can enlist in ministry according to their giftedness.
God has given you a "measure of faith" - a special gift enabling you to serve Him by serving your brothers and sisters in the church. If He has given you a gift, shouldn't you unwrap it? Shouldn't you do your part?