Alex Enabnit – Programming Coordinator
I’ll never forget the first time I saw a Smart car. I was driving on the US-60 when the strangest little machine caught my eye. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to snap a picture, but here’s a pretty close representation to what I saw that day:
Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite like a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, but it was pretty close. I half expected to see the driver’s feet running underneath to make it accelerate like in the Flinstones. I mean, how do they even fit an engine in the thing?
The car (if you can even call it a car) itself is pretty hilarious, and I hope if you own a Smart car you can have a good sense of humor about it. But what I find most interesting is that the humor of this tiny car isn’t lost on the Smart company. In fact they used it to their advantage, making fun of it in a recent ad:
I could watch this commercial over and over! Just seeing it trying to climb over the boulder and wade through a mud pit is priceless. But that’s the thing – this car wasn’t made for any of that. It was made for narrow streets, low speed limits, and short trips. Anything other use for it would just be… out of place.
You may not think about it, but this principle carries over to the church as well. Many of us think that if we are not musical, talented at public speaking, or a “good enough” Christian then we have to either:
- Force ourselves to get better in order to help the church or
- Face the fact that we cannot help at all
Here’s the truth: both of these are false! God has created each one of us with unique talents and abilities so that everyone should be helping in a way that leverages our skill set. Paul uses the analogy of a body in 1 Corinthians 12 to highlight this principle:
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 1 Corinthians 12:12-26
In other words, the Church needs everyone. God created us to be dependent on other people to advance the Kingdom. Whether greeting at the front door or preaching a sermon, each one of us has a place where we can leverage our skills, talents, and life experiences to help the entire body. On the flip side, the Church wouldn’t be able to operate without your abilities, whatever they may be. And here’s the crazy part: if you feel like your skills don’t necessarily match the stereotypical “Christian” – maybe you can’t carry a tune in a bucket or praying in public makes your knees knock – then the church body needs you even more! Differences don’t just make the body stronger, they also provide opportunities for the message of Jesus to reach places where many of us couldn’t make as much of an impact. That’s the beauty of the diversity of the Body of Christ.
Just like a Smart car shouldn’t try to go off road, we shouldn’t pretend to be something we’re not. God can use our unique abilities to help the entire Church. Are you using the “vehicle” God gave you wisely?