Every Christian is Gifted for Ministry

St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans (12:4-21) writes about the unity and the diversity in the Church.  The unity of the Church is that we all become members of the one Body of Christ – we both receive the one Body in Holy Communion and we become that Body in faith and love.  The diversity of the church is that God has bestowed many differing gifts upon all of the members of the church:

For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep

Fr. Theodore G. Stylianopoulos comments:

mercytoChrist“In two remarkable texts (1 Cor. 12:4-31 and Rom 12:4-8), St. Paul envisions the Church as the body of Christ, consisting of many members who are endowed with diverse gifts, such as teaching, healing, prophesying, encouraging, giving, and administering. He mentions the chief ministries in the early Church in a somewhat hierarchical order but without closing the list. ‘God has appointed in the Church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of all miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues’ (1 Cor 12:28). His point was that all Christians were gifted and all ministries had a particular role in the body of Christ. None was to be considered secondary or useless. All contributed to the well-being and edification of the community. The supreme gift that allowed for the harmonious function of all gifts was the gift of love, about which the Apostle writes eloquently in 1 Cor 13.” (Encouraged by the Scriptures, p 147)