For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them. – Romans 12: 4-6
When I was little I fell off a skateboard and broke my left arm. My arm was in a cast ALL sweaty summer. The cast was removed 10 days before school started and the doctor told my mom to make sure I started bending my left arm and using it as much as I could to strengthen the muscles that hadn’t been used for eight weeks. But I was afraid to use it so I used my right arm for everything, and even my feet if I had to. I wouldn’t use my “broken” arm because it was hard work to get my arm to straighten out again. My mom reminded me if I didn’t use it, it would stay weak and be useless.
That’s how it is in the body of Christ as well. Some of us are hard workers and love doing all sorts of things to serve around the church. My ‘go to’ saying used to be “I’ll do it if nobody else will.” So I ended up doing way more than God called me to, and became exhausted. A more mature woman came alongside me and said something that changed me. She said, “Doing things because no one else will do it is not the Gospel. God has given each of us things to do to make the body function in a healthy way. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean God is calling you to do it at this point in time. There are specific things he wants you to do right now, and he wants you to say no to the other things so other members of the body can practice using their gifts, so they can build up their spiritual muscles. Maybe right now your job is to ask someone who has never done that before to do it, and encourage them as they do. If you do whatever no one else will do, you will not be able to do what God called you to do to the best of your ability.”
That bit of wisdom has changed the way I serve and my ability to say “no,” as well as the way I encourage and challenge others to serve. In the Gospel, we want to help every member of the body to build spiritual muscles of service by using their gifts in the places God calls them to serve. Whether that means making coffee, serving in the nursery, playing the drums, or walking with someone who is hurting, everyone is needed for the body to be the body. The little things matter to the body as much as the big things, and both are missed when they aren’t there.
So, what spiritual muscles is God calling you to use right now? Start out small, but use them so the body doesn’t have to limp along.