Have you ever noticed how differently individual Christians respond to a tragedy? All are deeply saddened, but some seek to encourage, while others seek to problem solve. This is nothing new, and is actually quite healthy and beneficial. However, there is a trend of sorts, for some to attack others that respond differently. Pridefully they proclaim that there is only one right way for Christians to react to horrific devastation.
I find this especially discouraging because one of my passions is getting Christians to see and appreciate fellow believers for their assorted strengths given by God. We must recognize that while we are all different, we are all made in God’s image. He uses each of us in a variety of ways according to the gifts He has given us.
I remember once hearing that people react to situations based on their spiritual gifts. If this is true, then you can see it illustrated quite clearly in Orlando this week.
Those with the gift of mercy responded by caring for the wounded, both physically and/or emotionally. Those with the gift of giving stood in line to donate blood or opened their restaurant to give free food to blood donors. Those with the gift of exhortation used their words to encourage the hurting families and scared citizens of a country that is changing by the day. Those with the gift of administration looked at all the details and recorded all of the information, assessing from every angle, and delegated jobs accordingly. Those with the gift of teaching discussed the root of the problem, and listed ways to keep this from happening again. A person’s spiritual gift enables them to see needs that others may not even notice.
This is the way it is actually supposed to be. However what hinders this symbiosis, is when a person with the gift of mercy looks on at a teacher and declares “Stop telling others how to fix this. We simply need to care for the wounded!”
Likewise, we get nowhere when the administrator looks on at the one encouraging and complains, “Your words of encouragement are useless if we don’t take proper steps of action!”
At face value, each may seem to have a point. But that point is only valid when we as Christians don’t work together. God has given individual believers many different gifts so that when we work together in love, we will fully live out His calling and in so doing, we will beautifully and completely display the love of Christ with excellence to a watching world.
All the gifts are needed in the body of Christ. All the gifts are equally valid. In 1 Corinthians 12:12–26, the Apostle Paul tells us that no one should despise his gift by comparing it to the gifts of another. And no one should look down on someone else’s gift as being less than his gift.When someone is mourning, they need someone to hold their hand and cry with them, but they also need someone to cook their dinner and clean their house. Both important. Both different. Both loving.