Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Church: The Crippled Body

In the process of studying this concept for Sunday School lessons and writing about it, I decided I need to share this on my blog, and invite comment. If I may use your comment in an article or book, please say so, leave name, location, and a link of you want that included.

The church is a body;the members are its body parts. Romans 12:5 tells us that, "so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and every one members of one another." In other words,God is letting us know that there are no Lone Rangers in the church. We are all connected as a body to one another. God is also letting us know that, because we are connected, we cannot function fully without every member, every part, in the place God has called it to function and doing the job God has called it to do.

For those of you who don't believe you have any effect (or affect) on the body of Christ by what you do or don't do, try this little experiment: Take a hammer and whack your thumb with it. OK, thumb is growing in size and turning colors. What is the rest of the body doing? Going,"oh, that kinda hurt."? Absolutely not! The rest of the body is reacting to the pain felt by the thumb! The feet and legs are probably in a dancing frenzy. The arms and hands, similarly seeming to be having a seizure, probably hold on to the thumb. The mouth may be alternating between a deathly scream and trying to sooth the offended member by sucking on it. In simple terms - one part was hurt but EVERY part hurts.

Understanding this connectedness and its effect on the rest of the body is crucial for the church member in understanding his or her place in the body of Christ and why he or she is so important. If the heart decides it doesn't need to show up one day, what happens? Uh, yeah, I think you get the picture. We, the body,need to help those that are in pain and bring them to healing. That, however, is not the point of this post.

As a diabetic, I understand fully that my pancreas has decided it doesn't really need to function at its best. What happens to my body? My blood sugar doesn't regulate itself (kind of important), my body essentially "pickles" itself over time. Other methods have to come into play so that the body doesn't die. My life is held back in some ways because of it.

Now apply this to the church. When one member is missing or not in the place God planned for them, the entire body is effected! It's not about "me" in the church body, it's about "us"! Just like I can use medications and diet to keep my sugar in check (sometimes), the church has to learn to function without this member. Does it function as well? No, it does not! Those medications I take may help, but they don't take the place of a functioning pancreas. They also come with side effects, creating other issues.

Some of the side effects of "mediating" the broken body part includes other parts that are overwhelmed because they step in for a part they were never meant to play/be. When a member of the body decides, for whatever reason, that he or she doesn't need to be doing what God has called him or her to do, others have to step in and do jobs they were not called to do. This person or persons, in doing too many jobs, may neglect their own job or suffer burnout, causing more pain to the rest of the body.

Can the church go on with broken, missing or indifferent body parts? Yes it can, but just like the person with a broken leg has to hobble on crutches, curtailing his or her ability to do many things, the Church has to hobble along as well.

Can you imagine what would happen to our lives, our church, our world, if every member found God's place for them and showed up? I pray that each of you reading this will evaluate your own place in the body, and work with your fellow members to create a growing, functioning, thriving church that is out doing the work God has called it to do in a godless nation. Just as our body has symptoms when something goes wrong, the church does as well. Our godless nation isn't about the lost. The lost are doing what the lost do. Our godless nation is a symptom of a broken, hurting church. It is only as the church functions in God's perfect will, with each member functioning in God's perfect will, that the lives of those around it will change, because they will finally see what God can do when the Church gets it right.

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