In Ephesians chapter 2, Paul describes one of God’s purposes for the lives of believers in Jesus: “… we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Bill Cosby once did a skit of how he imagined Noah felt when contacted by God:
“NOAH. THIS IS GOD.”
“Riiight … Whattaya want? I been good.”
Paul ends chapter 2 with the very positive statement, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…” In other words, get busy.
Riiight … Doing what?
In chapter 4, dealing with divisions in the church, Paul explains “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Got that? The Marines and the Army only fight each other when they’re on shore leave. Not in a combat zone. And for Christians, this entire planet is a combat zone.
“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 …”
That’s the goal. Why? Because of evil men and the works of the devil and the demons. We need to build up ourselves and each other in the faith “… so that we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”
Paul wrote to Timothy, “…holding faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck.” Think of ships on the ocean, or the Great Lakes. Think of sudden squalls, hurricanes, whirlpools, coral reefs, pirates, icebergs, sandbars, engine failure, navigation system failures, collisions with other ships … makes you want to stay ashore, doesn’t it? There are equivalent spiritual hazards, and they are no joke.
Shipwrecks are terrible affairs, frightening and life-threatening for those on the ship, and a threat to others. Your shipwreck won’t involve just you:
The rest of the Body of Christ needs you where you’re supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Just like soldiers need their comrades. We are in a war. We all need each other. The Vietnam artist Dick Kramer did a pencil drawing which perfectly demonstrates this, called “Tight 360”.
From 1st Corinthians chapter 12: “ The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty … But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
“Each one of you is a part of it.”
Today as much as 2,000 years ago, what the Body of Christ needs is those who are walking in the Holy Spirit, dedicated first to the Lord Who redeemed us, dedicated to their families and then to the rest of the Body of Christ. There are many ways we can serve the Body of Christ. Examine yourself. Test your skills. Are you a good listener whose presence comforts those who mourn? Are you happiest and most capable dealing with material needs such as church dinners, cleaning or maintaining church property? Do you have a strong desire and the attitude and ability to help individuals with medical problems or property-related matters? I know a married couple who make it their business to mow the lawn of a disabled retired woman who can neither do it herself nor afford to pay to have it done. That woman can still drive safely and legally, and she ferries less fortunate people to doctor’s appointments, shopping, etc. I know a Christian man who is a superb mechanic, who often works on cars for believers who can’t afford to pay the full retail price. He charges only for parts and whatever they can afford, often contributing his labor entirely. Are you a prayer warrior? You have no idea how important your work is! Do you make sure the electronics are working for posting your church’s services online? There are shut-ins to whom you are nothing less than an angel of mercy. Are you a faithful witness to the Redeemer in your neighborhood or workplace? In all of these things, believers make the heart of God glad and build up the Body of Christ.
If all you can do is endure until you are exhausted, get up the next day and start again, yet you give thanks to God for your salvation and don’t turn away from Him, you are doing well.
Remember the widow who put her last two cents in the Temple treasury? King Jesus said that her contribution was more than the huge contributions put in by the rich men.
No one else can take your place in the Body of Christ. God loves you, and He planned a part for you in the Body of Christ. He values your contribution highly, regardless of how you or others see it. You are vital to your brothers and sisters in Christ, and you are greatly loved by God the Father and by King Jesus. The two of then collaborated on the plan for your salvation. Look at the suffering of King Jesus on the cross to see how very much you are loved, how incredibly valued by God you are.