“It’s aliiiiiive!” You can hear the line in your head, can’t you? Even if you’ve never seen the classic 1931 film adaptation of Frankenstein, you certainly know the general concept. Lit in crude black and white, a scientist and his assistant steal bodies, sewing the parts of people together to create another. They set the body in motion with electricity, thrilled with their craftsmanship. The piecemeal monster is initially gentle, only to get out of control as they discover they put in the wrong brain. The scientist had hoped to combine all the “good parts” to create something he thought was a better design. Too bad those parts weren’t meant to go where he put them.
The concept of sewing mismatched parts together to create a person seems far-fetched but honestly, we attempt this sort of thing all the time. You will be hard-pressed to find a person who has not tried to make themselves into something they’re not. Satan (the original horror movie) is often subtle. If he can’t make you outright miserable, he’ll try to distract you into sewing yourself in the wrong place.
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:4-8, NIV)
Scripture literally describes us as the “body” of Christ, each with our own “function.” In addition, it also says “each member belongs to all the others.” So, not only do we have our own specific jobs, but we are also responsible to one another to do them! The more we stay true to our “function” the more the body will work as He designed.
Now, I can already hear some of you panicking. “Uh oh, what if I am serving somewhere I am not supposed to be?!” No worries, dear reader. This message is intended for freedom, not condemnation. Here are a few examples from when I have “mis-sewn” myself:
When I felt guilty for not serving in children’s ministry because I’m a woman and I have small kids…even though I’ve always been broken for teenagers and I write devotionals for grown women.
When I said yes to leading a ministry because my husband is a public figure and I felt lazy “just” working behind the scenes…even though I’m an introvert, NOT a visionary and I really enjoy being a “doer.”
When I took on an entire family Thanksgiving meal because I wanted people to think I could do it…even though I’ve never enjoyed cooking and others had offered to help.
I want you to see the words/feelings in those examples. Guilt, comparison, envy, pride. Motivations that are not from God and not out of love. Motivations that left a spiritual Frankenstein eating a very cold, poorly seasoned Thanksgiving dinner. While God can still shower our ill-advised efforts with grace, we are far more likely to be fulfilled and effective when we are operating in God’s body rather than creating our own. He has designed you with some very specific tasks in mind. So, unless you are getting some neon sign to do something totally and completely against your design just do the thing that makes sense and lights up your heart and blesses God’s people. Is serving God always an easy fit? No, but it’s not always hard either. Sometimes it just “works.”
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)
So please hear this. We need you. We, the members of this body, we need you to serve. We need you to recognize how essential you are and commit to being sewn in exactly where He designed you because we all do better when you are doing your job and we are all doing ours. The body of Christ is the most beautiful being ever created, quite literally His bride. Let’s help her walk gracefully until He comes to collect her.