While some of you might learn something for yourself from this post, this one is aimed at yours truly with both barrels! It has to do with one of my main soapbox issues; yet, it is apparently one I haven’t yet listened to myself preach quite enough. I’m talking about the need for the church to be the church. What follows is what the Lord exposed in me.
Begrudgingly, with complaining and irritation in my heart, I made the call to the one who needed some spiritual help; not before I tried to pass it off, however, to the “official” church people. As I began the conversation, I was merely going through the motions; by the time it was finished, God’s gift in me, and His love and compassion for the hurting one on the other end of the line were flowing freely, and He provided the needed help. Later on, after the call was long-finished and the opportunity had passed, I realized I missed meeting a physical need, too. I had let it go by unnoticed because I was, again, leaving it for “them” to do.
1 Corinthians 12:27 NIV Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
What was so much more important than ministering to someone in need at that moment? What was the real motivation behind making the “official” church people aware of the need? I didn’t want to be the church this time. I wanted to pick and choose who Jesus would touch through me. It was, after all, an inconvenience of my time, plans, and efforts. Let “the church” take care of it. Who is “the church,” though? I am. I am the part of the church the Lord called on in this instance.
It appears I need to get back up on my soapbox and listen to what I’ve been saying for quite a while. “The church” isn’t bricks and mortar. “The church” is the people who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That would be me! When there is a need the Lord has equipped me to meet, I’m not to call “the church” to tell them of the need. I’m to ask Him what part of that need – spiritual, physical, or emotional – He wants to meet through me, and how I’m to proceed, not how I’m supposed to hand them off to “the church.” I am to be the church!
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
Romans 12:4-6 NIV Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.
The Lord has already given me everything needed for this person at this time. It’s not that I have all the answers, or am even supposed to meet every physical or emotional need. It’s that His gifts and blessings in me are more than enough for myself and others to know whatever part of Christ is the needed answer for that moment.
The ugly self-centeredness was exposed – again. All I could do now was cry out from a freshly humbled heart with thanksgiving for God’s amazing, new-every-morning mercy. And for His more-than-enough grace that covered my begrudging obedience, so someone else could receive all He wanted to provide through this part of the church – through me.