Meditations on the Body of Christ: 6. A Self-Serving Body
1 Cor 14:12 So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.
In the previous meditation we focused in the ‘serving function’ of the body of Christ, the Church, and particularly on the upward serving, the serving God, seeking to do His will. But there is what I also referred to as an ‘inward serving’, serving the body itself.
The apostle Paul wrote, describing the function of the ministry gifts, gifts of people to the Church, that their goal was “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph 4:12,13) Now that is interesting because when we observe the outworking of those ministries, apostle, prophet etc. they so often involve, in our minds, developing the church by adding to it and so the apostle Paul was not only an apostle, he was also a leading evangelist, but having done that all his efforts went into building up the church and establishing strong and vibrant local congregations. We will go on to consider that outward serving which involves evangelism, which can take many forms, but having brought people to Christ, the role of those ministries is to build up the church to the church actually functions as it should becoming a more and more able vehicle for bringing the love of God to the world and seeing many more added (or at least that is how it is intended to be).
So how do you and I go about building up this body, this local expression that we are part of. May I make some simple starting suggestions. First of all, be with the church when it meets on Sundays, at it’s various other meetings when it is possible to bless one another and fellowship together. (We’ll talk about fellowship as a separate subject in a later study). Second, set your attitude to be one of loving acceptance of all the others in your local church (we’ll talk about practical love in another study). Let there be no divisions in your thinking between you and anyone else in your church. The person you find difficult, determine to make time to be with them, to get to know them better, have coffee with them, share with them, change. Third, encourage one another. When others have led in some way, and you’ve been blessed, tell them so and thank them. Always look to say something positive about others. People ARE often what we declare them to be. If we speak badly of them, they will appear bad to us, when we speak well of them, we will observe a change in our thinking and in who they actually are. Bless them and be blessed.