Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27 NASB)
You are likely familiar with the concept above. When you receive Jesus as Savior and Lord – you become a part of the Body of Christ. The Body (Christians around the world) submits to the Head (Jesus’ Spirit). Being Christ’s body means that you are the physical representation of Jesus on earth. Jesus is with the Father and the Spirit of Christ aka – Holy Spirit is with us. Individually members of it means that you, Christian, have a particular function in the Body in which you are especially gifted to operate. You have a function that, when exercised, contributes to the Body’s overall purpose which is to expand and / or build up the Kingdom of God. There is one body and many functions in the body of Christ. Seeking and discovering your particular function is important, but today let’s focus on this: Now you are Christ’s body.
The Age of Outsourcing
Today we are living in the age of outsourcing. Today, tasks are outsourced that would have been unthinkable just one generation ago. A few years ago my wife showed up to work and was told that her job had been “outsourced.” Her company had hired someone from another part of the world to do her job at a fraction of the cost. Velvet (my wife) was given the option of leaving in two weeks – or sticking around a few months to train her replacement – and receive a severance package. This is not uncommon in this age. Outsourcing also exists outside of our places of employment. It struck me recently that just about everyone in my neighborhood gets their lawn mowed by a landscaping service. In my childhood, people who outsourced mowing their lawns were physically unable to do it themselves. Moreover (I hate to admit this) but I cannot remember my dad outsourcing any type of home repairs, but I certainly can’t say the same for myself. Growing up, if something needed repaired my dad did it himself. Whereas today I have a handyman’s number saved in my phone for jobs I, for whatever reason, don’t think are mine to do. Outsourcing tasks is simply the age we live in. Some of this outsourcing is okay, some….. not so good I suppose. But Christians please hear this – YOU ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST! Do not…. I repeat DO NOT outsource this!
A Hired Gun?
Who is your pastor? Better yet, what is his role in your life? Besides keeping the sermons relevant and short (wink wink) – what are your expectations of him? How about the scenarios below:
- Your child or grandchild starts asking questions about salvation. So, you call the pastor and tell him little Suzie may be ready to receive Christ! “Please come talk to her.”
- A good friend or family member goes to the hospital and isn’t doing well. So, you call the pastor and ask him to visit to lay hands and pray over them.
- A fellow Christian has wandered off the path and gotten caught up in sin. So, you call the pastor and ask him to speak the truth in love to this person and get them back on the track.
- A loved one goes off to college and comes home for a visit stating that she has doubts and believes in evolution. “I’m making an appointment with the pastor, so you can go and talk to him?” you say.
Do any of those look familiar? I’m not on a crusade to stop pastors from visiting hospitals or doing ministry. But I am championing the Body of Christ act like the Body of Christ! Christian, YOU are the body of Christ. Do you know what that child just might need when they are asking about salvation? YOU! Do you know what that person lying in the hospital just might need? YOU! How about that Christian getting caught up in sin, what might he need? YOU! And that college doubter – that young lady needs YOU! Church membership should not include the “benefit” of outsourcing being Christ’s body. Does it not make sense that the body of Christ would share the good news about salvation? Is it unreasonable to expect the body of Christ to lay hands and pray with confident assurance that God can heal? Would the body of Christ have enough love to address sin in the lives of brothers and sisters? Certainly the body of Christ isn’t afraid to address doubts? Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.
The Equippers for the Ministry
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12)
The verse above is teaching about the Body of Christ. Some refer to this passage as “the equipping gifts.” In other words, Jesus gave to the body people who are to build up and equip others in the body. Teachers and PASTORS are among those whose function is to equip YOU for the work of service. The word translated service in the NASB could also be translated ministry as it is in the King Jimmy version of the Bible. Are you smelling what I’m stepping in here? Your pastor / mentor / teacher’s role is not to be on call for ministry. He is not a hired gun! His primary role in the body is to equip you to do ministry! You are the physical representation of Jesus: at work, in your home, with your friend, at the hospital and wherever else you go! Being individually gifted for effectiveness in a certain function does not preclude you from growing in Christ’s image in other ways. We all are to grow in the entirety of Christ’s image.
Tweak that Attitude
Perhaps you need a slight attitude adjustment? When you gather together for church or Bible study are you doing so to learn or are you doing so to be equipped to represent Jesus in the physical realm? If your purpose is to learn – that is okay, but may I suggest you add an “and” to your purpose statement? Learn AND apply for the works of ministry. Do you remember that day when you received Jesus into your life? That day when your sins were paid for and you received a full pardon because the debt had been paid? That day when your spirit was awakened and connected to God’s Spirit. Well my brothers and sisters, that day qualified you to represent God in this physical realm. You are a member in the body of Christ. Be built up and take your post!