When writing to the Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul affirms the principle upon which congregational unity can be built – mutual respect and appreciation (Rom. 12.3). God has provided each Christian with a “measure of faith” that binds us all together.
Paul then explains how we are bound together, and he does this by using the imagery of a body with its various functioning limbs (Rom. 12.4). Logically, then, if we are a part of one body, then we are inseparably connected to each other.
The question, then, is not regarding whether or not Christians have anything in common with each other; quite to the contrary, Christians “are one body in Christ” (Rom. 12.5). The question consists of how can individual limbs (“members”) carry out their unique functions (“gifts”; Rom. 12.6).
The answer is that each Christian has different work to accomplish as a member of the church. That is what Paul affirms when he wrote, “we do not all have the same function” (Rom. 12.4).
Paul then encourages that all Christians to engage in the work of the church:
If prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (Rom. 12.6-8)
These different ways to contribute to the work of the church are described as “gifts” given according to God’s “grace”.
This reinforces the point that we make individual contributions to the church, as we all share a rich commonality in Christ. For this reason, we recently provided the congregation with an “Involvement Questionnaire”, so that the members can offer their strengths and gifts to accomplish our congregational goals. The questionnaires are in, and we are looking forward to the opportunities that await us in the months to come.