Staying in Your Lane
I’ve been working in the Church for 28 years, both as a lay person and clergy. In that time, I have come to appreciate the saying “stay in your lane” when it comes especially to Church work. I learned early that different people have different skill sets, we call them talents in the Church, and they are the most helpful to the Church when they use those talents for God’s glory. I have also learned that many people in the Church like to get involved in things for which they have no experience, nor talent.
Brethren, you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. – 1st Corinthians 12.27-13.8
Just because someone loves the Church, doesn’t mean then they should serve committee. We are reminded by St Paul in today’s reading that each of us has been given talents by God so that we can glorify Him and His Church. It is vital the success of the Church’s ministry that people’s talents are matched up with their volunteer work. Think of today’s reading this way, “Are all Parish Council members? Are all building committee members? Are all Choir members?”
Today is the Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian, “Doctor Saints” who were not only talented physicians, but wealthy. They used their own resources to heal people for the glory of God. They didn’t insist on being on the local church building committee. They understood the talent that God have given to them. It was enough to serve God using their talents.
It requires a sense of humility to, as the saying goes, stay in your lane. This is especially true in the Church. If you’re tone deaf, maybe singing in the choir isn’t for you. That isn’t a judgment; it’s just true. Staying in your lane requires love even more than talent. It is easy to volunteer for every committee at Church, but it requires love to allow those who have the proper talents to fill those roles. It requires love to accept that you may not know everything when it comes to everything.
So, what lane should you be in? That is a great conversation to have with your spiritual father. He will be able to help you discern whether you are called to a particular ministry because of your God-given talent, or if you just want to be involved in everything. A good spiritual father will tell you the truth, and a good spiritual child will accept the true. That is the beauty of love. St Paul also reminds us that love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I’ll add one more, just for today….Love helps you stay in your lane.