My Small Corner of the World
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good . . . All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11
As Christians, we have some inkling that we’re supposed to do good and be of service to our fellow man. We think obedience to God is a good idea, but we also fear what it means. Am I going to have to preach the gospel on a street corner? Will God make me be a missionary to some far-off land? Our dramatic imagination creates an impossible task, which we’re never going to do, and so, we never get around to doing anything.
When I was in treatment, I had grandiose visions of getting board certified in addiction medicine as soon as I got out. I was going to change the world, helping addicts across the globe. It was a nice thought, but at that moment, I wasn’t even practicing medicine. I first needed to figure out how to stay sober. Part of my recovery meant reaching out to help others, not around the globe, but right in my own small corner of the world. So, I started going to the local jail, meeting with those right here who needed faith and recovery. I had my part to play. It just wasn’t as grand or dramatic as I’d first envisioned.
In today’s passage, Paul taught that we all have a part to play. Some will be blessed with wisdom and knowledge while others may have miraculous gifts. If we truly have faith in Christ, God’s Holy Spirit dwells in us and imparts to us some spiritual ability which we’re meant to use for the good of those around us.
We’re not tasked with saving the world. We don’t necessarily have to do anything dramatic or grandiose. What we must do, is make a difference in the lives of those immediately around us. Perhaps God will take some of us to far-off lands, but for most of us, following Christ simply means showing his love and truth to those he’s put in our lives.
This means today – here and now. Maybe it’s simply a kind word to a coworker who’s struggling. Maybe it means serving our neighbor. Whatever it is, daily we must strive to be who Jesus wants us to be to those he’s put in our path. We don’t have to save the world ourselves. If everyone who followed Christ would be obedient in their own neighborhood though, that would change the world.