During our “Ears That Hear” class this week I took chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians to read and meditate on. It is here Paul gives us an amazing illustration of what the Church was designed to look like. With Jesus as the head, each one of us fulfills a vital role as some part of the body, each part critical for the welfare of the whole Body. One part may play a bigger, more visible role than another, but no part is more significant in God’s eyes than another. We all have a place. We all have a function. We all have significance.
So what can hinder a church from looking and acting the way God originally designed it to look? One thing is when we feel our part is not as important as others’. This way of thinking discourages us and may even snuff out our contribution. Another problem is thinking that our part is more important than others. The pride in this case prevents us from honoring the contributions of others and sets up an elitism that is contrary to God’s ways. And perhaps the biggest hindrance of all is the thought that we just go to church to get something we want, kind of like going to a theater performance so we can be entertained or uplifted. Certainly church is a place where we can and should be encouraged, inspired, taught, reassured and prayed for. But in God’s design each person in the Church contributes to the health of the Body in whatever way He calls us to. Maybe we’re called to pray for others, maybe to be a warm welcomer to those that come, maybe to worship with a group, maybe to bring food, maybe to teach, maybe to help with children, maybe to share the prophetic gifts you’ve been given, maybe to engage in outreach in the city, maybe even to just be a faithful presence as part of the family.
There are too many ways to contribute to the Church than I could ever mention. This, by the way, is not meant to be a recruiting letter for volunteers at SouthHills Church! It’s intended to open our eyes to God’s design for us as part of His Body. There is something extremely life-giving and growth-promoting in sharing our gifts with others, in letting God use us for the sake of others. Living this way, we get glimpses of that miraculous unity that Jesus talks so much about. And we can better hope to fulfill that promise that they will know we are Christians by our love.
1 Cor 12
Jn 17: 21-23
22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Jn 13: 34-35
34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.