Together, friends Melanie and Trevor have hiked miles of mountain trails. Yet neither would be able to do so without the other. Melanie, born with spina bifida, uses a wheelchair. Trevor lost his sight to glaucoma. The duo realized they were one another’s perfect complement for enjoying the Colorado wilderness: As he walks the trails, Trevor carries Melanie on his back; meanwhile, she gives him verbal directions. They describe themselves as a “dream team.”
Paul describes believers in Jesus—the body of Christ—as a similar kind of “dream team.” He urged the Romans to recognize how their individual giftings benefitted the larger group. Just as our physical bodies are made up of many parts, each with different functions, together we “form one [spiritual] body” and our gifts are meant to be given in service for the collective benefit of the church (Romans 12:5). Whether in the form of giving, encouraging, or teaching, or any of the other spiritual gifts, Paul instructs us to view ourselves and our gifts as belonging to all the others (v. 5).
Melanie and Trevor aren’t focused on what they lack, nor are they prideful of what they do have in comparison to the other. Rather they cheerfully give of their “gifts” in service to the other, recognizing how much they’re both bettered by their collaboration. May we too freely combine the gifts God has given us with those of our fellow members—for the sake of Christ.