Today’s verse made me think about a book that I read a few years ago called “Crucial Conversations”. It’s a great book on communication and helps equip us to run straight at the problem, versus avoiding it and letting conflict fester. We all need to face conflict, just as we would want to rid our earthly bodies of sickness. But it can be difficult to address certain conflict in a productive way. Some people avoid conflict altogether, and that’s not good. Others run at it recklessly and explode, but that’s a bad and damaging approach too. The book goes a lot deeper into the causes and effects of this, as well as giving us practical approaches to dealing with all kinds of situations.
Image courtesy of: marc thiele
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” – Ephesians 4:25
When I read Ephesians, Paul gives us the Biblical principle for why we should have these crucial conversations. And that is because we are all part of one team, God’s team. For us to win in life, we have to work together. And we have to do this for a common purpose, using our God given unique strengths and gifts.
This concept is quite easy to understand in sports. If God gave us a leg that kicks well, then we should be the kicker on the team. If God gave us a great throwing arm, then we should probably be the person who primarily throws the ball. No one is doing anyone any favors by having the thrower try to kick the ball, and vice-versa.
Similarly, we have to know what our God given strengths and weaknesses are and try to use them in that capacity. This is so crucial for the church, for us God’s people, to recognize and work together to help us identify these gifts for each other. If we see a gift in someone, let them know. We need to put off falsehood and share our perspectives with them. In doing so, we show them that we care enough about them to ease their struggles by helping them see and use their God-given talents.
This is one of the things that I think every church can do better. I don’t believe that I have ever been in a church where every member is an active member. I’m not sure that I have even seen anything close to 50% involvement of members active in volunteering and using their gifts at the church. While some churches might do this better than others, the majority of members who attend church are not active there.
This is not to say anything bad about churches, it just lets us know that this is the work at hand. Are we serving our churches? Are we helping other members of the same body? Are we helping others identify and utilize their talents and gifts at the church? Are we focused on developing our members who are the body of Christ, or simply accomplishing our church goals and numbers?
Christ is the head of the church, and we are the church. How are our sheep? How is the hand doing? What about the liver? The foot? Do we even know who is gifted in prayer and shepherding, or prophecy, or leadership, in teaching, in healing, or other God-given gifts and talents? Who is in the role of equipping and serving the people of our church, outside of delivering the message every week? Do the people of the church build one another up, or do they just go there to serve to satisfy their personal pleasure, but are totally disconnected from those around them? How are we doing at seeking connection with others in our church and actually helping others connect?
Being members of one body, it would be in our best interest to make sure that all other body parts are functioning at their peak, for their sake and for ours. Some good additional metrics for our churches would be connection count and quality, and talent identification and utilization. Food for thought.
Let us do our best to seek meaningful connection and leverage our collective talents for the body of Christ and for God’s glory!
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your Word this morning. Thank you for revealing how important it is for the church to work together, support each other, and build each other up in love. Let each of us do our part. Let your Word penetrate our hearts and minds that we cannot help but satisfy your desires in our lives. Help us to live a life worthy of the calling that we have received. Guide our every step, and let every Word that utters from our mouths be pleasing to you. We give you all the honor and glory and praise, in Jesus mighty name. Amen.
Today’s full reading: Ecclesiastes 7-9; Ephesians 4
Scripture References From Today’s Reflection:
- “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
- “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29
- “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
- “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
- “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…” – 1 Peter 2:1-25
- “From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” – Ephesians 4:16
- “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:14
- “So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.” – 1 Corinthians 14:12
- “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” – Romans 15:14
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