A week ago when my kids were sick, I went to church by myself and chose to sit alone, even though I’m close to a lot of people from church. A woman sat behind me, also by herself. I enjoyed her singing, and I lifted my voice to harmonize with her. I knew she was a visitor, and I didn’t want her to feel bad for singing so loud. I smiled as I worshiped, and I didn’t care what anyone else thought. I even lifted my hands.
When church was over, I turned to the woman and said, “You enjoy singing just as much as I do!” She laughed. Then ensued a very long conversation begun by her asking what I liked about this church. I could tell that she was considering becoming a member.
I stuffed down the pain and began by saying that I had known the pastor for over 10 years. “He is a humble man, and I sometimes see the Spirit of God emanating off him. He loves God with his whole mind, soul, heart, and strength. He also expounds the Word of God systematically in a deep, rich way. So the preaching is good.”
I went on to say that I’ve never been at a church where I felt like an artery, where I could feel the pulse of the church in an organic way. I have deeply bonded with the majority of women from my church, I know many of their struggles, and I pray fervently for them. Just the prayer alone has caused me to have such a deep love (and burden) for each of the families at my church.
Even though I invited this woman’s family over to dinner, I forgot to tell her that another reason I’m close to so many people is because I’ve had them over to my house for dinner. I opened my heart to them, and they opened their hearts to me. We used our spiritual gifts, and from the time we had each family over, onwards, whenever we saw them at church, we continued to use our spiritual gifts. In other words, we were one organic body: the body of Christ.
This is the way it is supposed to be. The church. Each member opening up and using their spiritual gifts with each other. Two eyeballs, two ears, a mouth, two arms, two legs. People who leave immediately after the service totally don’t “get” what the body of Christ is about. The equipping part (the sermon) can be gotten online or from a book. Even the worship is replaceable by a good CD blasted in your home while you worship God. But it’s the people… the messy, imperfect people… who make up the body of Christ. It has always been that way and always will be.Tweet