Last week I spent some time at the beach with friends and family. First, all the hallelujahs! Second, I’m always undone at how God went over the top in creating such beauty for us to enjoy. Then… On. Top. Of. That. His creation comes packed with even greater purpose. Beyond bringing Him glory and us good. Each creature contributes. Every one, from microscopic to mammoth, plays a role in the greater scheme of nature. And it leaves me in awe of God’s glory.
So it is with humanity. God intricately fashioned each one of us to have purpose. Along with loving God and our fellow humans… We were created to be part of the body of Christ.
“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.
…and God has put each part just where he wants it.”1 Corinthians 12:12, 18 NLT
Every member has meaning. Every individual, part of a greater whole. Sister, you are needed. Your God given abilities and life experiences are needed. Your housemate, though at times annoying, is needed. Your neighbor is needed. That fellow follower of Jesus, who you disagree with, is needed.
No doubt we are all living among a current sea of national unrest and tension between fellow “body parts”, BUT GOD is still at work. He is the master at producing purpose from pain.
Being part of the body of Christ brings two important truths our way.
We have been fashioned for purpose. So, we can step out on faith, believing God to use whatever role we can play for His greater good.
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.Romans 12:6-8
We are to fight for unity. If one of us suffers, it matters. If one of us triumphs, it matters.
“If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”
1 Corinthians 12:26-27 NLT
Sometimes being part of the body of Christ is painful. And weary. People are messy. Yet, even in those hard spaces there is greater purpose! We get to know God more. When people are unreliable we learn that God is.
“Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!”
Romans 12:15-16 NLT
You and I, by design, have something to offer. But first we must bring our whole selves to God. Anything good we have is from Him anyway. Though we are finite, we have access to an infinite God who loves us more than we can know.
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.James 1:17
So here is what we can do.
- Let’s ask God to show us our own blind spots.
- Let us seek God and what He cares about.
- Let’s ask Him to teach us compassion towards our fellow “body parts”.
- Then ask Him to shed light on what we have to offer.
- And to lead us to be a helpful member of His body of believers.
Friends, God has used the rub of relationships to do some divine eroding of the callous places in my own heart.
While hanging in this bed swing on a porch in Florida last week, I asked God To show me how to care about what he cares about. To make known to me ways I can fight for unity in the body of Christ. And how to use what he has given me and what I have walked through to make a difference in my sphere.
Then God shined a light into a corner of my heart where I’d hidden bitterness. He gently called me to love unconditionally in that space. Submitting is not easy for me. So, I told God I wanted to trust Him with this tender place in my heart… but it was hard. I was fearful. Then I asked Him for the will to obey. And for peace through it.
Repeatedly I’ve learned… trusting in God’s faithfulness brings peace. It reminds me of the ocean. Though it’s too vast to comprehend, it’s might is majestic and it’s closeness is calming.