These days all you need for a social media post to go viral is a reference to a well-known personality test. People love the relatability of an Enneagram number or a Meyers-Briggs string of letters that hits just right. It can be a relief to see something put to words that you think only you have ever felt and never verbalized. There’s a peculiar comfort to being known.
But we don’t need social media quizzes to acknowledge the obvious. We’re created differently. Whether it’s choosing between the beach and the mountains, or organizing our work desk, everyone is wired differently and our differences lend themselves to varying strengths. God has gifted his people in unique ways that strengthen the church and advance the kingdom.
The Global Body of Christ
As Paul says it in 1 Corinthians 12, we’re able to operate as a body because we each perform the job of a specialized organ. If we were all an eye, Paul says we’d suffer from lack of hearing. “But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted” (1 Cor. 12: 18). He’s gifted us in unique ways, and the body of Christ functions best when we’re excelling at our roles. We see this beautifully displayed in our local churches where Christians humbly and faithfully use their gifts for the good of the community.
The Bible also says that God has provided parameters for the gifts we possess. He’s determined our locations (Acts 17:26), and he’s equipped us for good work (2 Tim. 3:17). So not only has he given us special skill sets and affinities, he has also designated where and how we will use those gifts to carry out his ministry. We are all instructed to leverage our skills and resources for the good of vulnerable people among us.
But what about vulnerable communities who live oceans away?
Our Supportive Role
This is precisely where our belief in the global church comes to bear on our conviction that justice work evidences our Christian faith. God has determined our locations and our gifts, and he’s given all his people the same instructions to care for the least of these. Recognizing that we are part of that global church helps us see that we aren’t meant to be the hands and feet in every context. As local Christians focus on caring for the vulnerable among them, we can join the global church’s work by taking up the role of supporting, but necessary, organs that help the body function.
If the testimony of both the Old and the New Testament is that we join God at work in caring for the vulnerable, then it only makes sense to look to Scripture for God’s means of ensuring the fulfillment of that mission. He’s commanded Christians to care for the needy in the places he’s put them with the gifts he’s granted them. Our next step is to ask, “Where do we see God at work?” and to join him there by serving our brothers and sisters who are living out James 1:27 in their communities.
Where 127 Comes In
It’s one thing to desire to “do justice and love mercy” in response to the gospel (Mic. 6:8) and another thing entirely to know where to start, how to help, and who to serve. 127 Worldwide exists to connect you to other believers for fruitful collaboration that empowers vulnerable communities around the world to flourish. We believe the key to overcoming a lack of knowledge or fear of being ineffective is to foster relationships between you and other believers who are already caring for the people you want to impact. When we function together as the global body God intended, we get to harness our abilities for the good of orphans and widows and simultaneously “walk humbly with our God” (Mic. 6:8).
At 127 Worldwide, we believe God is most glorified when the global church cooperates to accomplish his mission. This means that just like a local church thrives when all its members are exercising their gifts, so the mission of the global church advances when we work together within the parameters God has set for us. He has already called, gifted, and placed Christians in the places 127 partners, and we count it a joy to join the work he’s begun through them.
So we partner in the work, embracing the limits he’s established, cooperating with the global body to use our gifts, and trusting that the mission is securely in the hands of God himself.