We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. Verse 6 (NIV)
In my many years of pastoral work I have been blessed to see the church community act and react with all of their gifts, to be the warm embrace of Jesus in our world. When a middle-aged couple lost the baby they had waited so many years for, their sorrow was unbearable. I watched as people gathered around them to console their broken hearts. I watched as older wise men sat with the husband and responded to his questions about “Where was God in this tragedy?” At the funeral, a young mother who had also lost a child sat with this grieving mom and simply offered her shoulder and an understanding of pain. For weeks following the funeral people dropped off meals, flowers, and cards with expressions of sympathy and support. The entire community cared for them in whatever way they could.
When the apostle Paul talks about the body of Christ in Romans 12, he urges his listeners to use whatever gifts they have been given to their fullest ability. It doesn’t really matter which gifts we might have. What matters is, that we use them to the best of our ability for the good of others. That expression of caring and love makes the body of Christ strong, resilient, and attractive to those outside the community.
In community, people care for each other. They use their gifts to help each other and to see that anyone who is wounded, or hurting, or in some other difficulty, is looked after and loved. Sometimes healing is possible. Other times mourning and support are needed when healing doesn’t take place.
There are times when we all need to know is that someone will care for us. Having a community around us to do that is essential.
Father, help us to use the gifts we have been given to care for each other, and help us to receive care when we need it. Amen.