IKEA furniture is the most frustrating furniture ever created. While it is cost-effective, and generally decent quality, assembling it drives me crazy. Here’s why: I am very type-A, and their instructions are the worst. Since they produce furniture to be sold worldwide, their instructions have no words written on them… just pictures. And it doesn’t matter what you’re putting together, there is always 2 extra screws or something like that. I can’t stand extra things for no purpose. It drives me crazy.
If you’ve ever purchased this dreaded furniture, you get where I am coming from. If you haven’t, you are blessed by God. In short, Praise the Lamb for pre-constructed furniture.
Thinking about this frustration of finding the pieces that fit, and having extras, it made me think of us as Jesus followers. The Bible describes followers of Christ as a body, called the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12 says, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” The rest of the chapter goes on to show us how well this analogy depicts the fact that every follower of Christ is important. The author says things like, “if the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?” and “if the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?”
The point is this: You have a role to play.
Jesus did not create anyone to be spectators. Think of it in terms of a professional sports team. You may not be the athlete, but there are so many more people involved than just the athletes. There are coaches, trainers, video coordinators, chefs, equipment people, massage therapists, doctors, cleaning people, stadium or arena employees, announcers… You get the idea.
However, in terms of the church, too often we see the people who are on stage for a service, and think, “I can’t do that, so I’ll just attend.” Following Jesus is not a spectator sport. God has designed you with a gift, has given you a vision of how to use that gift, and has placed you where you are to use that gift. Again, you have a role to play. You can’t be satisfied just cheering from the sidelines.
1 Corinthians talks about this too. The end of the above chapter talks about spiritual gifts. If I were to summarize this, I would say that God has gifted you in order to serve Him. Whether that be in front of a crowd or behind the scenes, God has wired you to serve Him. There are many that are discussed in scripture (check out this page), and there are tests that you can take to figure them out (take a really extensive one here. This website also has great info). However, the best way to figure out where you are gifted is to try them out.
Try serving in different areas. Maybe you find your role on the first try. That’s awesome! Now you understand your giftedness and how God wired you. Everyone has at least one! Maybe it doesn’t work out the first try. Keep trying. God is faithful, and you’ll find your role. I know this is true because it worked for me. Serving at a small church, I have tried my hand in so many different things, but through that, I understood my giftedness. I know that God put me on this planet to stand on a stage and preach the Gospel. I would never have figured this out if I didn’t try my hand in so many areas.
This process isn’t always easy. Like IKEA furniture, you may get frustrated at times. Keep trying. There is freedom in understanding the gift or gifts God has given you.
Following Jesus is about understanding your giftedness. Once you understand your gift or gifts, you have freedom to serve in the capacity God has designed you for. Then, you can thrive, because you know the role you were made to play. The body of Christ is designed in such a way that you cannot be the whole body. You were made uniquely to be one part of the body, and serve in that role. Don’t try to play everyone else’s part. Play yours. You were made to play a part in God’s story, and learning where you fit is how you can understand His plan for your life.
Trust the process. Take your next step. Now is your moment.