Friday, February 27, 2009

Church Is Not A Chair (part 2)'s a Body.

The average human adult body is made up of an estimated 50-75 trillion cells. Each of these cells plays a particular role within the body, from skin cells to blood cells to nerve cells to brain cells, and everything in between. The vastness and diversity just within the human body is simply astounding. What makes it even more miraculous is that these trillions of cells somehow all work together in perfect unity. Imagine if a few hundred cells formed their own body; we'd call that cancer. Imagine if a few million cells decided to just bail on the body or do things on their own; we'd call that paralysis.

The book of Ephesians puts it like this:
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace...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 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.
The body is a miraculous blend of diversity and unity. We have different gifts, different passions, different personalities, different weaknesses, and different theological views. Yet we're to use all this to build up the Body, to reach unity, and to become mature. It's about encouragement, not impediment; unity, not uniformity, and spiritual growth, not numerical growth. The two letters that talk about the Body also talk about spiritual gifts in the same idea; there is a balance between individual strengths and corporate maturation. There is also a tension of working hard as the Body while also allowing Christ to have authority over it all, recognizing that while the Body needs to be moving and growing, it only does that through Jesus and not its own strength.

So how am I encouraging others in church? When did I actually build someone up this week? Do I really value diversity in church? Do I genuinely love the people who look and act different than me? As a pastor, in what ways am I fostering spiritual maturity instead of just filling chairs? Because church is not a chair; it's a body. 

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