For an independent, first-born, self-sufficient, ‘Merican guy, hearing we need someone else to fulfill God’s purpose is hard. Those who know me best have realized I could go for an embarrassing amount of time before really needing to have any sort of social interaction. Most think I’m an extrovert because I genuinely do love people. It’s something God has had to purify in me but now – I do.
It almost seems cruel. Like a group project kind of cruel. I guess that’s the expected reaction. There’s certainly a refining part that happens when you’re placed in that kind of a situation. You simply aren’t able to have everyone contribute unless you give up some personal preference.
I believe it’s the heart of what Paul is driving at in 1 Corinthians 12 when talking about the body of Christ and how we’re to function. In the previous chapters, he’s already emphasized how living out a holy lifestyle is mostly for the benefit of others. Here, he’s talking about how our individual talents/giftings work together for the mutual edification of the Church.
Let’s face it. In America, it’s hard to be selfless. We have “Make Your Own Happy” and “Live Your Dreams” messages bombarding us every day from several different directions. And God keeps reminding us that true happiness doesn’t come from focusing on self but from gradually eliminating self from the equation.