A story is told about a group of animals deciding to improve their general welfare by starting a school. The curriculum included swimming, running, climbing and flying. Duck, an excellent swimmer, wanted more so he focused on climbing and running—much to the detriment of his swimming. Rabbit, a superior runner, spent so much time in other classrooms that he soon lost much of his famed speed. Squirrel, who had been rated an A+ climber, dropped to a Cbecause he spent hours trying to swim and fly. Eagle was disciplined for soaring to the treetops, when he had been told to learn how to climb, even though flying was most natural for him.
This parable circulated for years in educational circles as a reminder that we are different people with different gifts and abilities. That’s the genius as well as the frustration of being a human being. Some of us go through life banging our heads on the wall trying to have success in areas we simply are not meant to be. Others of us exploit our gifts to the neglect of those whom we could serve.
The apostle Paul, writing to the specific mindsets and habits of the Corinthian church, shares insights just as relevant for us today.He observes a community fragmented by those who had elevated their particular gift in a way that belittled the gifts held by others. They viewed themselves as more important.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:14-20, “For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”
As we continue through our Engage series, and as you fill out your gifts survey, pray that the Holy Spirit guides you to where you can use your unique qualities to serve.