In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul describes the Lord’s people as a body. In it, he subtly rebukes those who would put someone down for not being good at everything, while openly celebrating the diversity of talents within the Lord’s church.
No one can do the entire work of the church, but everyone can contribute something. Here are five questions that I hope will help you find a place in the Lord’s kingdom. There is plenty of work to go around, isn’t there?
1. What am I good at?
Nobody is bad at everything. Everyone is good at something. Everyone has some talents, some things that they are naturally better at than other people. If you think you don’t have any talents, it is probably just because you haven’t found them yet. You need to try some new things. If you have only ever tried to one thing in God’s service, then you don’t have any idea what your talents are: you need to branch out and try something different! Only by trying a multitude of tasks can you discover what you more naturally good at.
2. What am I capable of?
The difference between what we are good at and what we are capable of is subtle, yet profound! We are able to do many things that we are not naturally good at. You may not be naturally gifted at throwing a football (or any athletic endeavor) but through hard work and training, you can learn to throw a spiral. Talent merely decreases the amount of energy or effort required to be good at something. There are way more things you are able to do than things you are naturally good at; how much effort are you willing to invest?
3. What are my fellow Christians doing?
Don’t ask this so that you can compare yourself to others, but so that you can find ways to help others! How can I make the work of others easier, or more effective? We want to help our fellow Christians, but that requires knowing what those fellow Christians are doing! Our encouragement and support will be much more effective if it is specific and targeted. Does someone need money? Time? Another set of hands? You can only answer that by inquiring about the labor of others in the kingdom!
4. What can I contribute that others cannot?
I am not just talking about money; maybe you have more time, or more energy. Maybe you have a skill that others lack. At the very least, you are able to influence a range of people that no one else can. You have a sphere of social influence unique to you. Maybe there is some person that you are uniquely suited to reach. Again, don’t ask the question so that you can see how much better or worse you are than others, but so that you can find the areas where work needs to be done. If you have already answered #3, answering this question will be much easier.
5. Can I be doing more?
I don’t know your life circumstance, but generally the answer to this question will be YES! Too often our default mode is to do the least amount possible. To find the easiest way out, the path of least resistance. But God did not give you His leftovers, He gave you His best. We can always improve, and we can always do more. There will always be work in the Kingdom, and it is the best work there is.