JOURNAL: Show of hands: How many people know that Jesus is the head of the church and that WE are the Body of Christ? Yes, I see that hand. Uh-huh…and you and you. It sounds very cool doesn’t it? I think most Christians know this concept. It sounds nicer than the Shepherd and sheep analogy since everyone I have heard using that analogy always reminds us that sheep are not very smart. But a body is much, much smarter than a sheep. Even though most Christians know this concept, do you think they “really” grasp the significance in what “THE BODY OF CHRIST” means?
I am a very practical and logical man, so I am going to try to look at this in a way that makes the most sense to me. (high worried voice…OH NO!!!) And to the people who know me…yes, I know…pretty scary isn’t it? But just hold on a minute and see how it goes first before you bolt in terror and take cover. Maybe, just maybe I learned my lesson last time. Hey, stop that laughing! Not cool!
Let’s look at it as something we are familiar with…US, as in…you and me. So if Jesus is the head of the church and we are the body…let’s look at it as MY head is…well…the “head” of my body and the rest of my body represent the church. And you just think the same way with your head and your body and follow along.
In this example, my body is pretty useless without my head, just like we, as the body of Christ are useless without Jesus. Likewise, our heads are pretty useless without our bodies. Sure, you could have a friend put your head on a shelf to look around, in the window sill to look outside at the neighbor mowing their lawn or on the couch to watch TV…but who would run the remote? So if this is true for our stellar head and body example, is it also true for the head and body relationship we have in Christ? Here is what I think. And again…I know…scary.
Jesus does not need us, “the Body of Christ” to get things done. He could accomplish absolutely everything without us ever doing a single thing. But what fun would that be? What would “we” learn? How would “we” grow and change into something better than we are today?
It seems to me that Jesus wants to…chooses to and even picks us, as messed up and imperfect as we are, to work through. He does not do this because He “has to” to get anything done, as in our physical body example but just because He loves us and He wants to work through us. He wants us to learn, grow and change because of the process. That is huge! That is so cool! That is awesome! That is sooo stinking scary! Wait…what do you want to do through me again? What? Everything! Whew! No pressure there.
I read something years ago in a book by Mark Batterson called, “Disappointment with God” that hit me between the eyes and has never left. He had the audacity to say something like; we may be the only Jesus some people may ever see. When I read that, I did not like it. I did not like a lot of the book for a while actually. It was not because he was writing bad things or badly but just the opposite. He was writing, rather straight forward, truthful, heart piercing, hard things that put a lot of the action on us as the church. And worse, he was not even attempting to sugar coat it or try to tickle my ears a little while he did it. The problem was, I could not and did not disagree with him. And sometimes some things once heard, can never be unheard and/or in this case…forgotten. And that is what I am talking about today. As the body, we are called to take action. We are not called to cheer and pray from the sidelines but rather to actually be in the game.
God wants and chooses to work through us. He doesn’t just do it but rather, asks us to do it through Him…or said another way, Him working through us. He creates appointments for us as we go along our day to day lives as we interact with people. And as we interact with these people, He is trying to reach out to and love on them through His body (THAT’S US!) all the time. But I’m afraid that often, the body is not getting the message, missing the opportunities and might not even realize it.
Our interactions do not have to be anything huge. It may be something as simple as smiling and telling someone hello. It might be opening a door for someone or helping someone that is overloaded and struggling, carry something to their destination. It could be coming along side someone who is struggling and carrying a heavy load in life, just so they are not alone and shown that someone cares. What God gives you to do might be something little or something big or anywhere in between. Your job is to see it and to walk in it. If you just stop and take the time to look, you might just start to see that God is trying to reach out, love on and serve people all around you. And “WE” “THE BODY” are the bridge between God reaching that person. I know…again, no pressure. Ha.
I will give you a real life example from this past weekend that God gave me. My wife Denice and I decided to go to a new hamburger place called, Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steak Burgers. It is new to our area and our daughter, Shelby, has spoken well of it. On the way there, at a four-way stop, I saw someone jump out of their car and try to start pushing it out of the way because it has stopped working. I quickly had my wife, Denice, pull over as soon as we crossed the intersection and I began to get out so I could help. But a guy from the car behind the person beat me to the serve and had already jumped out and started helping him push. I was going to go over there and push the “cut taker” out of the way but I could not find a verse in the Bible that would support such action. So disappointed, I jumped back in the car and we continued on to get our burger.
Really, I was not disappointed but actually, I was happy to see others willing to help so quickly. It made me smile to see others helping each other. I said I was disappointed only because I was just trying to be a drama queen…something my wife falsely accuses me of a lot. Of course, I have no idea what she is referring to, so I just shake my head. (SMH)
We arrived at Freddy’s and got our order in. It was very crowded and there were not any tables at first. By the time I had filled my drink, my wife had snagged a table. On my way back to the table, I saw a man with both hands up in the air, wiggling all of his greasy, fry fingers while looking past me. He was sitting alone and he was trying to get his wife’s attention as she was getting her drink. I realized he was trying to get her to bring him a napkin and so I gave him one of mine on the way by. He laughed and thanked me. His wife came up right after and said at least you knew what he was trying to say and laughed too. That was the first opportunity God gave me.
While I was waiting for my food, I decided to go to the bathroom and take a bubble bath. When I got there, there was no tub so I just did my business and washed my hands after carving my name in the wall. On the way back, I grabbed more napkins. As I was going to my table, I noticed that same couple again. The man had begun sharing his used napkin with his wife. As I was passing the table, he stood up to go get more napkins. It was absolutely perfect timing and at that moment, I handed him half the stack I just picked up and they both started laughing again as he sat down.
A moment later, the woman came over to our table and said that today was their 35th anniversary and I had just served her husband twice and she thanked me. We told her congratulations on their anniversary and to keep up the great work. That was my second opportunity.
While we were eating, an older man with a cane and portable oxygen device and his wife came in. He sat at the table next to us and leaned his cane against the empty chair. While he was sitting down, it slipped off and fell on the floor. He started to try to get it off the ground and I quickly picked it up and gave it back to him. He said, “Thank you sir.” That was my third opportunity. God is everywhere…even in a burger joint. I could easily picture Jesus and the disciples hanging out there.
None of those things were big in any way or really that significant in themselves. But all of them meant something to the people involved. All of them told them someone cared and unknowingly…they were touched by the Body of Christ. God made a way to love on those people and used someone like me to do it. And if He can use me…He can certainly use you. And that is our job. Are you up to it? What do you say, are you ready to be the body?
Daddy, I am humbled when You love on people through me. I am amazed at just how much You love Your creation. Please give me Your eyes to see, Your ears to hear and Your heart to feel and use me to love on a lost and hurting world.
David L. Wood 2/10/2015 © All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the writer, David L. Wood.
Mark 10:42-45 (NIV)
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Galatians 5:13-14 (NIV)
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”