Members of the Body
Post date: Sep 29, 2011 4:18:55 PM
Reposted from 2009-08-27
I was talking to a friend earlier and thinking about my church hopping days. It reminded me of Corinthians and how we should be.
Let me rewind for a moment. A long time ago, I was in a church. The church accused me of dating my girlfriend to get my green card. This was a well known rumor and the people who invited me to that church knew it was coming from the leaders, not the attendees. I never got connected to that church. More recently, I was in a church where the head pastor trashed my reputation by saying things about me he never should have. While I had begun to become connected to that church, I never got fully connected nor became a member. More recently, I attended a goth church. While they were welcoming, there was no connection to be had for a straight laced person like myself. Within a couple months, I was out of there.
I finally came to a point in my life where I was leery of churches. I'd been burned by them and was hesitant to trust God to put me in a place to grow. This wasn't the case with the church body I am a part of. Where I am at, the pastors and congregation appreciate my gifts. In fact, they encourage people to make a positive impact in the body. People who have unique oddities about them can find their place in ministry. It's an environment of growth. I like this because it feeds into a couple needs.
The first need is to be rightfully connected.
The second need is to be in the right environment to grow.
In the beginning, God created man. Then God says, "it's not good for man to be alone. " We know that in Genesis 2, God creates woman,but more than creating woman, God created the basic unit of the community. That is to say, The Family. More than family, being rightfully connected means a number of things to me. It means having relationships with people who encourage you to grow despite your differences.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body an eye, where the hearing? If the whole hearing, where the smelling?
What Paul is saying here is that you are part of a body. There's a need to be connected, but even so, you can't simply deny your place in the body. I could say because I am not an elder, I am not part of the church. Yet, as I am not an elder, nor pastor, nor worker of notable authority within my local church does not mean that I am not part of the body. I do serve a role in my local congregation. I usher. What does an usher do? Ushers do very little in front of the congregation. We help clean up after service and we pass out communion once a month. Compared to a member of the worship team, an usher may not seem that important. Yet, the office of usher is like the toe. While a toe may not seem necessary, try balancing or running without toes. Toes are necessary more than we realize. Like toes, even the smallest role in the church is necessary.
1 Corinthians 12:22-26
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
Beyond the necessity of all members, I find that there are still those who do not know their place. Just as I was church hopping, God had shown me where I had no place. God did also direct me to a place where I could be. God set me in my place in the body (1 Corinthians 12:18). He desires to do the same for you. There is a place for you in your local church, and if this is not the case, God will (beyond a shadow of a doubt) lead you elsewhere. If your departure is marked with groaning, it is my opinion that you are leaving for the wrong reasons. But if God sends you out of a church to a place where He will not only join you to the body but give you position to add unto the church, I believe this is good. A key thing to remember is that we should not forsake the assembling of the faithful (Hebrews 10:25). The key word is assembling, not gathering. Huge difference in syntax. Gathering just means to be grouped together, but assembling is to be joined in a functional or usable manner.
When I was a kid, you couldn't play with all your toys right away. They had those labels that said, "Some assembly required." I hated those because it meant Papi (my dad) got to play with them first. Really, it was Papi assembling the toy so it could be used. He put the pieces where they belonged so the toy was not only usable but would last. There was one toy that I tried to assemble on my own without knowing the design. While I don't remember what it was, I do remember breaking it. I believe it was a kite or something. Either way, the toy was not assembled according to the master plan. The result was its inability to function as designed.
God has designed you to fit somewhere. Not only will you fit in this place, but once properly connected, you will function as He intended. I encourage you to seek out God in this, that He might show you where you belong. My road has been paved with dreams, visions, and lots of Dejá Vú. While this could be your road, God could also carry you a different way into your place. Keep an ear open for the voice of God. He wants to show you where to be so that you can mature. In some cases, you might just need to take a time of prayer and fasting. But in all cases, when you hear God's voice, it will be confirmed. I personally don't believe there can be a such thing as a church goer. I believe that people will always have something to contribute. I also believe that God has a place of ministry for each and every one of you out there.