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Living in the Margin

by SHIRLEY RALSTON COMMUNITY Being a woman in ministry Biblical conflict resolution Feeling known & understood Identity in Christ Isolation & loneliness Purpose Team unity & dynamics Discouragement
Living in the Margin
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“The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
1 Corinthians 12:21-26

"Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in. He attaches far more importance to godly intercourse than we do. Since union is strength, he does his best to promote separation." - Charles Spurgeon

“I’ll think about it.” I knew that response all too well. It meant my vision for the ministry would likely die on the vine. It takes the wind out of your sails when you don’t feel heard or valued. When it happens, the sad result is that the ministry and valuable members of the Body of Christ are marginalized.

In 1 Corinthians 12:20, Paul’s warning is clear, “Now there are many parts, yet one body.” His analogy between the human body and the body of Christ is spot-on. As the different parts of our human bodies cooperate for our survival, the same is essential for the body of believers.  

“The instant any part of the body says to any other part, 'I don’t need you!’ it begins to weaken and die and create problems for the whole body. No Christian servant can say to any other servant, ‘My ministry can get along without you!’”.1 

In our fallen world, there will be times when we feel marginalized or tempted to marginalize others. As much as it depends on us, we can fight the temptation to insulate ourselves and do things our way and in our own time, thus avoiding the same pattern of marginalizing those around us. 

My sister, I encourage you to turn to Galatians 5 and take heart. We will not fall victim to the works of the flesh. Instead, we will embrace the fruits of the Spirit. Our unity is critical to a healthy and thriving ministry. 

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 609–610). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books. 

Closing Prayer
Father, help me to equally value all the members of the body you have placed in my life. Give me insight into their unique temperament, gifting, experience and skill that you have given to each one. Help me to see how you mean to use them to further your kingdom. Amen.
Song: You Say by Lauren Daigle Her lyrics confirm our identity in Christ.
Question for Reflection

Have you ever felt marginalized within your ministry? Invisible? Like you don’t matter?

Shirley Ralston
December 02, 2022

I have had some great counsel in this area that has been very helpful to me personally. When I feel like I haven’t been listened to, my insights dismissed or ignored, this is how I process it; ‘I have given the gift of my God-given experience, training, skill and calling. God is sovereign over what happens next. As far as it is up to me, I have been obedient in passing on the gift.”
Then I lay it all at the foot of the cross. I doesn’t take away the frustration entirely but it does help me release it and move on.