Tag Archive for community

Working as a Member of His Body

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 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. (Romans 12:3-5, NIV)

As I focus on the ministry God has given me, I tend to get self-centered in my thinking. I forget that my ministry is actually our ministry. 

You’ll find this true no matter what your area of Christian service. For me, it’s publishing. God has called me to communicate His truth through the written and recorded word. And publishing is definitely a team effort. It involves a wide range of people: writers, arrangers, producers, performers; product developers, editors, managers; artists, computer operators, printers, packers; promotions, marketing, and sales people. If any one of these does less than his or her best, the whole ministry is weakened. 

This can sometimes bring a feeling of frustration and helplessness. But the fact is, God designed the Body this way. Whatever our task, whatever need we are addressing, it is bigger than any of us could ever handle alone. To meet that need, we must work together. We must hold each other up. In His wisdom and love, God has made us dependent, not only on Himself, but on one another. 

God is patiently teaching me to work as a member of His Body. He has already shown me several lessons. 

First, I need to think of each task as a team effort, not as a one-person show. That changes my mind-set as I approach the work. What can I do to help the team? How can I help the others be at their best?

Second, I need to think of others as team members and treat them that way. Even in Christian ministry, it’s easy to think of fellow workers as obstacles, adversaries, or competitors. But such a spirit only betrays our self-centeredness. The truth is, we can only succeed as those with whom we work succeed.

And that leads to point three. An important part of my investment in any project is praying for the others involved. I’m learning this more and more. Such prayer fills several important functions:

1.       By praying, I reach beyond myself and acknowledge that this is God’s project, from beginning to end. As I prayerfully depend on others, I am depending on Him.

2.       Praying for team members helps them be more productive. It is exciting to pray for fellow workers, then watch the miracle of God working through them.

3.       Prayer keeps my attitude right toward my fellow workers. Prayer draws me to them and helps me love them as people. It strengthens my sense of our unity in God. As I pray for my fellow workers, I begin to see myself, not as the center of my field of ministry, but as a small part of a broad and wonderful whole–as broad and as wonderful as God himself.

Whatever your ministry, begin to think, work, and pray as a member of the team–the team that God himself assembled to accomplish that work. When you work as a member of Christ’s Body, You are working in Him. And for the servant of God, there is no higher goal.

Each of Us Is a Gift of Grace

To each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. . . . It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 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. (Ephesians 4:7, 11-13, NIV)

Read the following passage about God’s judgment on His disobedient people, and imagine yourself living through this situation:

See now, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support . . . the hero and warrior, the judge and prophet, the soothsayer and elder, the captain of fifty and man of rank, the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter. I will make boys their officials; mere children will govern them. People will oppress each other–man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old, the base against the honorable. (Isaiah 3:1-5, NIV)

Imagine any society with all its skilled people taken away: no leaders, no teachers, no doctors or dentists, no repair people or builders, no police officers or soldiers, no writers or performers, no cooks or crafts people or specialists of any kind.

Imagine a church with all its skills and talents gone.

That makes us realize how dependent we are on such gifts from God. It helps us see His grace reaching out through society, providing for our every need while drawing us together as a people. God is our complete support. We are totally dependent on Him for everything.

What do you have that you did not receive? (1 Corinthians 4:7, NIV)

But He has also made us dependent on each other. The gifts that you have been given–material goods, abilities, or even inclinations–are not gifts to you but are God’s gifts to His people through you.

In Ephesians chapters 1 and 2, we hear about God’s great grace poured out through Jesus. In chapter 3 Paul talks about himself as a vessel of God’s grace. But here in Ephesians 4 he says that God pours out His goodness and love through each of us. He is pouring out His provision through you. He has entrusted a portion of His grace to you.

You are part of a beautiful pattern, like the waterways of the earth or the blood vessels of the body, bringing God’s life to every corner of our world, meeting every human need. And He is using human hands. He is using your hands!

Praise to our all-wise God for His goodness! Praise Him for teaching us the blessings of unity!

Think Beyond Yourself

In Christ we who are many form one body,
and each member belongs to all the others.
(Romans 12:5, NIV)

Our past, present, and future
is bound up with the communities to which we belong.
None of us got where we are alone.
We aren’t here alone.
We won’t get where we’re going alone.
And when we get there, we won’t be alone.

Look at what you value most.
even money—
all grow out of community.
They are nonexistent outside of interaction with other people.

Self-centeredness is foolish.
It ignores the reality of community.
It overlooks our smallness and incompleteness as individuals.
It is shriveling, binding, and fearful.
Self-centeredness is a lie from the Evil One.

Love is the bond of unity.
It is beautiful, natural, and reasonable—
a wonderful blessing of God.

Pursue love.
(1 Corinthians 14:1, NASB)


Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Honor one another above yourselves.
(Romans 12:10, NIV)

Each of us is part of a group of people—
a community.
In fact, we are members of multiple communities:
and more.
We have received so much from these groups.
We owe them a tremendous debt.

In their immaturity, our children are often unaware of such debts.
They feel obligated only to their own desires.
They think only of themselves.

It’s easy for us to make the same mistake.
We’ve inherited so many of the blessings we enjoy:
a stable government;
moral values,
our Christian faith.
We didn’t earn any of these.
They were left to us by others.

What communities do you belong to?
To whom do you owe a debt?