So let’s start by looking at the work that God calls us to within the church, the Christian community.
In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul says that the Christian community is like a body which is made up of many parts each with a particular and very important function to perform. It’s one of his most famous illustrations!
We need a little bit of background before we read this passage. Paul, before he became a follower of Jesus used to be a Pharisee (a Jewish religious leader) named Saul and he persecuted the first Christians. One day he was riding on his horse going to the town of Damascus and he had with him written permission to throw into prison any Christians that he found in that town. On the way, he saw a bright light and was thrown off his horse. Then he saw a vision of the risen Jesus and Jesus said to him….. “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me….” It did not take long for Saul to become a Christian and change his name to Paul.
Now the reason that I give you that little bit of background is that Saul (Paul) had never met Jesus during his life on earth…yet Jesus says, why are you persecuting me…..Saul was persecuting Christians, and Jesus says…why are you persecuting me.
Jesus is making a deep and profound connection between himself and between those who follow him… When Christians are persecuted, Jesus is persecuted. When Christians act, Jesus acts. With his life transforming experience in the back of his mind this is what Paul wrote about the Christian community.
Let’s read 1 Corinthians 12:12-25 now that we have some background.
There is work for every Christian to do within the church in order that every member of the community of faith might be nurtured and encouraged to grow towards spiritual maturity. The health and effectiveness of the body depends on every part doing its job at the proper time in the proper way. If one or more of the parts ceases to function properly to that degree the body becomes sick or disabled.
Do you remember a few weeks ago when we looked at the purpose of the church and we laughed at all those things that could go wrong with the church….well most of those things are because the people who belong to the church are not using their God given talents….and are not living a life of ministry.
As growing Christians we want to find our proper area of ministry within the church so that the community of faith to which we belong might be healthy and effective.
Question: How have you thought of ministry in the past?