What does it mean to be the body of Christ? Last week in bible class we looked at Acts 4, and how living in the body meant not being an idiot (focused in on one’s self) but rather meant to hold all things in common. It meant to have fellowship with one another, and to see in each other the gifts of God lived out.
This week we look at that great chapter in Romans, chapter twelve. What I would like for all of you to think about here is to start considering the doctrine of vocation or calling as it relates to the body of Christ.
Each of us has a calling or vocation as the baptized. We are royal priests, with a high and holy obligation to love our neighbor and to intercede for them before God. That also means loving them by speaking the Gospel to them, and by providing for their needs as best as we are able.
The trouble is our favorite word today, balance. How do I balance the needs of the many, the needs of the few, and the needs of the one? In many respects, we could look at our priorities like this from the Scriptures: Church, Family, Neighbors, Self. Or maybe, Family, Church, Neighbors, Self. Either way, in the Bible our own personal needs come last when it comes to stewardship.
Does that mean we don’t take care of ourselves, and provide for our own needs? Of course we do. But spiritual growth means, at least in part, the recognition that we don’t need as much as we think for ourselves, and that the needs of others is probably greater than we realize. It doesn’t matter whether you are talking about giving for your family or your church or your next door neighbor. Their needs are greater than we realize, and our own needs are probably less than we think they are.
That doesn’t make it easier. It means taking a hard look at why God has given us what he has. It means repenting of how we have squandered God’s gifts. But most importantly, it means recognizing that God is the one who sacrifices and gives all good gifts for us, His children. As Dennis says in his article in this issue, you can’t out-give God. Thank God for that!
As we continue to learn what it means to live as the Body of Christ, I pray you will look to Christ to give you what you need in all good things.