Psychologists and therapists have spent years researching birth order personality traits and coming up with birth order theories. They’ve concluded that firstborn children tend to be reliable, controlling, and conscientious. Middle children have been described as people-pleasers, those who thrive on friendships, and have a large social circle. The youngest child personality traits include being fun-loving, uncomplicated, self-centered, and attention-seeking. The only child has typically been described as mature for their age, perfectionists, diligent, and a leader. Whether or not you agree with these broad generalizations I believe we all would agree that every child in a family is different. Every child has their own unique personality along with their own strengths and weaknesses. The challenge is to leverage their strengths for their good and to curb their weaknesses so that they are not crippled by them.
When we obey the gospel we become God’s children (Gal. 3:26-27). Though we are all a part of the body of Christ we are all different (1 Cor. 12:20). We have different gifts and different abilities that we have been endowed with by God (Rom. 12:3-8). Sometimes our challenge is finding out exactly where we fit in and how to use our gifts. The church is not a one-dimensional organization in need of only one set of talents. The church operates at her best when every member is using his or her abilities in the work of God to the glory of God (1 Cor. 12:21-31). It does no good to focus on all of the things you cannot do. Do not spend your time dwelling on your limitations. Instead focus on all the things you are able to accomplish and then put your energy and effort into those things (Eccl. 9:10). While we must be sure to operate within the will of God, we should not leave our creativity and imagination outside the church (Col. 3:17). God can use whatever we commit to his service in ways we had never previously imagined.
Consider all the ways that you can get involved and find your place in God’s family. Can you lead a prayer or lead singing? Can you teach a class, give a devo, or assist someone else who is teaching a class? Can you be a greeter or regularly invite friends and loved one to church services? Are you able to prepare meals for the sick and shut-in, help with clean up after potlucks, or visit those in hospitals and nursing homes? Maybe your gift is in writing encouraging notes to those who are hurting? Would you be willing to prepare communion? Do you have artistic ability or gifting with technology? I know this list of questions is not exhaustive but hopefully it has caused you to think. Though we are all different, we are all indispensable to the kingdom. We all need each other. Find your place here in the Lehman family and fulfill your ministry (Col. 4:17). We can’t do it without you (1 Thess. 3:8)!