Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (1CO 12:4-7 ESV)
In America people value their independence. It is that spirit that many say won our country. Perhaps so. While there are many good things that can come from this spirit of independence, there are also some dangerous things. It can keep you isolated and alone when tragedy strikes. It can hinder team development. It can prevent you from understanding the work of the Holy Spirit.
Our inclination is to view the church in one of two ways. Either it is a place in which I fulfill some duty I have to God or it is a place that provides me with teaching, children’s development programs, etc. The first of these is legalism and the second is consumerism. This is a skewed view of the church. The church, as Paul describes later in the same chapter, is like a body with many different parts. The body has a hand and an eye and an ear, etc. While distinct from one another, they are not independent of one another. One mind directs them so that the body, as a whole, can function. Without one of its parts, the body is not whole. It is handicapped. Many, if not most, of American churches today are handicapped.
Just as the body has one head, so does the church. Jesus is the head, and the Holy Spirit is the empowering agent for each of the parts. If you are a follower of Jesus, then you have a unique spiritual gift. Every Christian does. And the reason you have that spiritual gift is so that you can function as part of the body. Your gift is not for you, but for the body. As Paul writes, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” We too easily forget this. So let me ask, what is your part in the body? How are you serving? If you aren’t, then you’re handicapping the body of Christ.