Last month at Kingdom Code BUILD, Andy Geers helped us to explore Paul's description of the church in his letter to the early Christians in Rome, and what it means for us a community of Christians working in the world of tech.
"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." Romans 12:3-9 (NIV)
1. Within Kingdom Code we are one body with many members
One of the glorious things about Kingdom Code is the range of different skills represented within the community. Something we often hear when people find out about Kingdom Code is “Oh, but I’m not a coder…” - but praise God that we’re not all coders! To build anything useful in the technology world it takes a whole range of input, from designers to project managers… and yes, ultimately coders too!
It’s God’s great design (v4) that “just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others”. The great encouragement here is that whatever our skills, we’re to get on and use them! v6 “We have different gifts according to the grace given to each of us… If you gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith… v7 if it’s serving, then serve! If it’s teaching, then teach, if it is to encourage, then give encouragement, if it is giving, then give generously…" you get the idea! We mustn’t compare ourselves with others and wish God had given us their skills - we’re to get on and serve with the gifts we have.
2. Within the church we are one body with many members
From a global perspective, in many ways the Kingdom Code community itself represents one member of the wider body of Christ. Whether we’re developers or designers or entrepreneurs or data scientists, in many ways we are all “technologists” as far as the wider church is concerned.
On the one hand, this passage helps us to not think too highly of ourselves, as v3 says. The things we do as a community, such as through events like BUILD, are important and have the potential to be highly significant for God’s glory around the world. However, without the rest of the body we’d be completely stuck. To take our two recent hackathon challenges, for example: it’s the whole body of Christ who together are going to reach out and serve the poor; it’s the whole body of Christ who together are going to be seeking to reach the lost with the word of God.
On the other hand, don’t undervalue your skills as a technologist. Hopefully the experience of many at BUILD was of seeing that our tech skills are not separate from our faith - we don’t have to put our digital stuff in a little box over here and our Christian service in a separate little box over there. If these are the gifts that God has given to each of us, then let us use them. We belong to all of the other members of the church, and they need us and our skills. God willing some of the projects from BUILD are going to really help the church in their mission.
3. Service motivated by the mercies of God
Finally, what’s going to motivate our service? All of this is in the context of Romans 12v1, which starts “In view of God’s mercies…”. This chapter is saturated by the truth of God’s grace towards us in Jesus Christ. We deserved nothing but God’s wrath, and yet in his kindness, for all who put their trust in Jesus Christ and his death on the cross for us, instead we can experience God’s love and grace and undeserved forgiveness.
When we realise how God has been so kind to us, it’s hard for that not to overflow in wanting to bless those around us in whatever ways we can. I pray that you will have a real sense of the privilege of your calling, both as Christians and as technologists - that God has poured out his grace on you personally. May that motivate you as you work for him in service of his body, the church!