My first Lord’s Supper is blazed in my mind. I was nine years old, newly baptized, and nervous. I would finally partake in the great mystery I’d heard so much about.
When the plates were passed, I grabbed the largest piece of matzah because I loved crackers. I took the thimble of juice with the smallest amount, as I couldn’t stand purple grape juice. This led to an awkward partaking as I struggled to wash the dry matzah down with the meager portion of juice.
In so doing, however childishly, I proclaimed my faith in our Savior.
It wasn’t until nearly a decade later that I discovered my place in the body of Christ. After many summers at youth camps and a year at Spring Vale Academy, I finally found my true spiritual giftedness.
God has equipped each one of us with gifts, personalities, and uniqueness “differing according to the grace that is given to us” (Romans 12:6). Each of us has a specific, important role to play within the church; we are not all meant to be the same. “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. . . . the body is one and has many members . . . ” (1 Corinthians 12:4, 12). Though we are all gifted differently, we are part of the one body of Christ: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
I will never have the gift of administration. The art of hospitality does not come easily to me. But do you need encouragement or someone to pray with you? I’m your girl! God has placed me among this church family to pray for you, to encourage you to reach out and grasp your Savior tight, to help you discover what gifts He has given you, to find out where you fit in the body and how you can serve it.
Once we discover our gifts, we are freed to serve the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and to serve the world through the church in our unique way.
Dig deep into your Bible, pray, and reflect on who God has made you to be. Ask those in your congregation who have wisdom and discernment to point you in the right direction if you feel confused, lost, or useless. Seek prayer with another. Then allow yourself to embrace the gifts God has given you. When you have uncovered those treasures, you can serve joyfully and to the fullest of what God has planned for you.
Your local church is your body, your family, and your mission field. You have a role to play, a service to do; you are important. I need you, the church needs you, and the Lord needs you.
Without you, we are not whole. Without your gifts, the whole body suffers. With you, we can be healthy and strong. With you, we can fulfill the plans God has for all of us, together to impact the world for Christ.
Patricia Archer lives in the Silicon Valley, CA, with her husband, Garrett, and their four children. She has been part of the Lodi CoG7 congregation her entire life.