Yesterday was a busy day. I was tired, I was stressed, and I didn’t get half of the things accomplished that I wanted to. Yet, the entire day was spent serving the Lord, my family, and my brothers and sisters in Christ. I was exhausted, I was stretched to my limitations, and the Lord prevailed. It also gets me to stop and analyze my life, my ministry, and what I am doing. I try (and often fail) to be everything for everyone, something I was never called to do! At times, I feel like there are expectations placed on me that people would never hold themselves to. For instance, I’ve had people blame me for not being there for things I never knew about, but they felt I should have known (even if no one told me). Or, I’ve been there for a person, time and again, but it never was enough. They expected and expected, but my first ministry (my family), and the ministry to the church (both ministries I will never neglect) got in the way of their expectations. I don’t say this to draw attention, to gain pity, or to make you respond.
I express all of this to say that I am not Jesus. Like you, the leaders of the Church, are members of the Body of Christ. We have roles to fulfill, each according to our calling, and part of that calling is to produce productive members of the body. Consumerism has invaded the church: people want a product to be delivered, and when expected to participate, want the participation limited to what they are comfortable with (which is usually showing up on Sundays, possibly Wednesdays, and receiving a lesson). Beloved, the Church is so much more than this! The Church is about making followers of Christ, taking care of Orphans and Widows, showing hospitality, meeting with one another for love, counsel, support, and fellowship, showing hospitality to strangers and one another, feeding the hungry, welcoming strangers, and daily gathering for the sake of glorifying God and building one another up. It’s a daily habit, a community we’re part of, a body that functions together with Jesus as the head.
The purpose of the Church is to produce members of the body of Christ, not a producer of goods and services. Each member has his or her role to play, gifts given by the Spirit to be used for the body, and not for the individual. We are a reflection of the glory of Jesus, demonstrating His love and compassion, and showing the world what He can do to transform lives. Are you living your purpose? Are you the Church 24/7 or just Sundays, Wednesdays, Holidays, or when it’s convenient? Deny yourself. Pick up your cross and follow Jesus, and be a member of His body!
1 Corinthians 12
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
And I will show you a still more excellent way.