Imagine trying to walk on your thumbs all the time. Big sweaty feet dangling above your head. I hope you’re smiling. I know I am. It doesn’t work well to rely on parts of your body for jobs that they were not designed for. We barely think about the design of our bodies when they are working well because God perfectly designed us each with a body containing specialized parts. Some parts are multi-tasking, some are not. The human body is wondrous and we trust its design!
This sounds like an obvious fact to mention, and I wish we didn’t need to hear it, but just as God created our physical bodies, He also perfectly designed the Body of Christ. He knows what He is doing! But do we trust Him? Do we believe that His design for the body of Christ is best? It is so easy for us to be caught up in what is directly in front of us. The latest crisis, those real needs closest to our heart, injustices that we see around us. Does He have a design for us to follow? If we are not careful, we can end up in a huge game of “who is more right” regarding what we should do that does not end up feeling like a game at all. How does God call us as a body of believers to operate together, when we are as diverse in our giftings as we are in God’s plans for us? How do we know what role God is calling us to in the body of Christ?
We start with Him.
We are first called to be in relationship with God:
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. John 15:14
Then with each other:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Acts 2:42
Then the world:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
But how does this apply to us individually?
We are all called to be active members in the body of Christ, each called to contribute towards its edification and growth with Christ at the head; there is no room for passivity!
“When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 1 Corinthians” 14:26
What does that look like practically? Paul refers to many roles in the body of Christ, such as...
"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Ephesians 4:11-12
And this doesn’t even include roles listed in 1 Corinthians:
"And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:28
Now add to this the marketplace, family roles, government and a host of other callings and we can see how we truly need God’s guidance to know what our role is to be. Or we risk being directed by the loudest influence in our lives. Partnering with God’s direction for our lives brings empowerment; partnering with any other voice does not.
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
when he delights in his way” Ps 37:23
Can you imagine if a Godly woman like Mother Teresa had been asked to work in an office all day? Administration is a wonderful gift (one I do not have by the way), but the poor would have lost a spiritual mother had she been asked to be a secretary. God knows how He made each of us, and designed us to operate out of His plan for us; this revelation comes out of relationship with Him. In a time of great need such as now, can I encourage you to find your place first with God and let Him direct your steps? There may be many needs around you, but you will bear the most fruit if you partner with what God is calling you to do with Him.
""For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
To prosper you, to give you a hope and a future, this is what He says. Trust Him!