As Christians, we understand that we are each part of the body of Christ. We understand that the Church is comprised of many parts that each has a special function. The Church is people. Each of us are different. Each of us are part of the body of Christ. We also know that Jesus Christ spoke of unity and prayed for unity. This is important.
Paul wrote that “we all belong to each other,” as translated in the New Living Translation. I love this translation. We all belong to each other. I think this helps us to get a better picture of unity. If we belong to each other, it should mean that we care for those who belong to us. Don’t you care for your belongings? If we belong to each other, it should mean that we treasure those who belong to us. Don’t you treasure your belongings? Don’t you treat what you own nicely because it is of value to you? If we belong to each other, that means that not only does a person belong to you, but you belong to the person. This speaks of humility, connectivity, loyalty, and so much more.
One of the biggest areas we struggle with is unity. Jesus spoke a lot about unity because He knew of the struggles we would have with harmony as a body. When you take a group of imperfect people and join them together, there will be problems. But what links us together is the Holy Spirit. If we allow the Spirit to move freely and guide our steps, we can live as if we belong to each other. We can seek out the best interests for our brothers and sisters. We can think more of our fellow believers. We can treasure those God puts in our lives and ask Him how we can bless, encourage, and strengthen them on their walk. We can live within the unity instead of trying to break out on top. Remember today, we all belong to each other.
“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” – Romans 12:4-5 [NLT]
In Jeremiah 2, the words are harsh. The Lord asks what the people found wrong with God that made them go after other things. The verse says that because they went after worthlessness, they became worthless. This is blunt. This is harsh. This is difficult to swallow.
It is hard to read this truth and feel any grace. The reason the people had become worthless is because they were deep in idolatry. They could not be used by God for His glory if they were running after other things. It is difficult for you to selfishly and foolishly run toward something in place of God and be used by God for great things for His glory. At the end of the day, not only is it a choice that will be regrettable, but it is also very unfruitful.
Verse 11 makes it clear that this way of living does not profit. The people, His people (note “my people”), decided to cast aside their specialness. They were a chosen people. They cast it aside for something else. The something else was not better. Rather, this action caused them to settle for something that would lead them nowhere good, nowhere they would want to be if they knew the truth. Today, look within. Are you useful? Are you fixated on other things? Imagine what God can do through you for His glory.
“Thus says the LORD: ‘What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless? Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit.’” – Jeremiah 2:5, 11 [ESV]
When my friend came to me to take over at my work area, she said she was going to replace me. I told her that I was irreplaceable. She first took it as me joking that I was too good for her to take over where I was located; however, I said it again. I am irreplaceable. You are irreplaceable. No one is replaceable.
I worked jobs where I was a number. The boss said that he didn’t care if we came or went because he could always have us replaced. We didn’t matter. We had our licenses. We had our certifications. We could have a nice resume. In the end, we were simply a number and there was always someone else to fill our shoes if he decided to take our position away.
With God, you are irreplaceable. Now don’t get boastful. Don’t get puffed up over this statement. It doesn’t mean that God needs you. It doesn’t mean that you are better than anyone else. It means that God has a purpose for your life. He has something that only you and you alone, can do in this lifetime. So you are irreplaceable. You are beautiful. You are priceless. You are important. Jesus spoke about going after one sheep though the 99 were safe. We each have been the one sheep. Each one of us matter. You, my friend, are irreplaceable.
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?” – Luke 15:4 [NLT]
When I was walking my dog this morning, there were tons of ants gathering together on the sidewalk. My dog Max decided to walk around the ants in an awkward way to be sure to avoid them all. It was quite humorous to see a 75 pound dog trying to avoid the tiny ants, but there is great strength in numbers.
Each of those ants is important. Each one added to the number and helped to make Max feel the need to avoid them. Each one played an important role. It is the same way with people. Each person is important. Each person has an important role to play. Sometimes we feel like we like a tiny ant, like we cannot make a difference or that what we are doing does not matter. Do not let yourself listen to those lies.
You are important. You are special. You are loved. And YOU are called to do great things. The biggest problem is that we think of ourselves as a little ant rather than as one of many ants—a large group of ants. We were created as communal beings and we are to be part of a community—one body—the body of Christ. You are not an ant. You are a child of God, a member of the Kingdom of God. And you, my friend, can do great things—great things through Christ.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” – John 14:12 [NLT]
At some point in life we begin to question if we are making an impact in the lives of others. We go through periods where we doubt or wonder if we are making a difference at all. The problem is that with having such a huge social media network and newspapers and television programs all over the globe, we see others that are doing such grand things and we might not be building a children’s hospital in a third world country or speaking about Jesus at a large conference in a huge stadium.
We need to be mindful of the fact that every single thing that we do for the Lord, whether it is something our human minds see as large or small, to God, it is a great thing. I do not see anywhere in the Bible where it says that God will rate what we do on the attention it gets on the 6 o’clock news or the grand nature of a project. Every single thing that God calls us to do matters to God—it’s not about the job itself but the heart of the person doing the job. Being fruitful can result from being a door holder to a housekeeper to a pastor to a truck driver who shares the Gospel along his route.
On a recent trip, I was waiting in line to use the restroom when I got in a conversation with a lady waiting in line behind me. We did not say much but we shared for a bit. The conversation lasted only a few minutes. Two hours later, we arrive at our hotel and checked into our room. As we begin unloading the car, the same lady I spoke with earlier was outside in the parking lot asking me if I was following her because both our families ended up at the same hotel hours later. I’m not sure why God had us meet up again but I’m sure He had a good reason. But I do know that she likely would not have remembered me if I would have kept facing front, not said hello, and walked out like I was never there at that gas station.
Today I challenge you to connect with people. Don’t walk through the grocery store while on your cell phone. If you are doing business with a bank teller or a cashier, smile and address them by their name. If you are taking your dog for a walk, say “hello” to those you pass. With these simple gestures, we can share Christ. Remember that God uses everything you give Him.
Don’t forget that you are part of “a chosen people.” You are special to God and if you give Him something, He will take it and use it for His glory.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function.” – Romans 12:4 [NIV]
My son has been playing the trombone since the beginning of the school year and it has been a very interesting time for me to listen to his practices. There are some songs where I can grasp the song that he is playing with only his trombone portion. There are other songs that get me a bit puzzled. It makes no sense to me because I am only hearing his part. Last night, I was blessed to hear the entire band perform the music as one, and the sound was beautiful and the songs that I did not understand became very clear. Each member joined together and the result was amazing.
We as Christians are one member of the Body of Christ. We each have a different role to fulfill in the Kingdom. We have each been made uniquely by God for His special purpose. We may not always understand our own purpose, and we may not comprehend the purposes of others as well. But as we join together with all of our differences, our unique gifts, our varying personalities, we are one Body. We make such beautiful music together when we are all playing our own part as God has designed. It is a symphony that only our great Creator could have written.
Today, don’t look at the differences in others and complain because you think things should be done your way or because it is difficult to join together and co-exist with someone so different from you, but see the beauty in those around you and encourage each other to fulfill the part God has called us to fill. God’s plan is perfect. Let us focus on His goodness and let us remember that every single one of us is important to God.
A fellow classmate brought up an interesting point today. He said that it was interesting that when John the Baptist was asked if he was Elijah, he denied it, but then Jesus said that John the Baptist was in fact Elijah. From this, he said that he felt that John the Baptist did not understand the “bigness” of his mission.
I thought about it for awhile and it got me to consider how we serve. We always seem to want to do big things for God. When we look for something to do with the church, we want to be the next Peter or Paul or John. We want to be Elijah or David. We don’t imagine a small role, because if we serve, we want to serve big.
The problem is that it is not our will and it is not about us at all. When we serve, we are serving God. It doesn’t matter how big or how small the matter. Did Peter or James know how big their roles would be for the early church? Did Paul realise that we would be studying His writings so many years to come? Were these men looking to be the biggest, or were they serving their awesome God? Were they filling the needs or were they trying to venture to be the most well known?
When we serve, we serve out of love– love for our Father. We don’t know how many it will touch and what the impact will be in the end. We simply serve. God will use those who let Him. Let yourself be used. See what He does. You may not know how far your service reaches, and maybe it will be something small– but no matter how big or small the role, you are serving a loving Father. That is what matters. Open your hands– let Him fill them.
“As each one has received a special gift, empty it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do it as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 4:10-11 [NASB]
As winter comes through our area, the water is beginning to freeze into ice. It is always an unpleasant sight for me, because I’m not too fond of winter. However, with this change, I understand that the ice will thaw in the springtime and once again the water will flow.
The funny thing about water is that there is this constant changing occurring all of the time. The water changes direction. The water changes temperature. The water gets dirty. The water gets purified. The water freezes. I think you get the point.
We are a lot like water. We often change directions and we often have temperature changes. We can look at that as changes in our actual numerical temperature or as our mood changes.
One thing for certain is that God does not change; however, He wants us to change. He made each one of us with a special purpose, and He is by our side to help us each reach that goal. We are challenged to change direction, and we are encouraged to get purified.
Perhaps we will have moments when it seems like we are frozen as ice, like we are stuck in a present situation. Remember, the ice eventually changes as God’s creation works around the ice to melt it back to water. A present situation is just that, a present situation. Nothing stays the same except for God. Keep pressing forward and watch as God melts the ice in your life.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” -Jeremiah 29:11 [NIV]