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Thursday, March 19, 2009

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"Working Together"

"From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work" (Ephesians 4:16).

Photo of Ty Pennington
Extreme Home Makeover is a popular weekly television show.  They find a worthy cause (several times they've selected someone in Christian ministry) and in a week's time, along with much preliminary preparation, they transform a rundown home to a palace with a massive amount of coordination and cooperation from the community.  I've occasionally watched with Ester since this is one of her favorite shows.

Similarly an amazing sight to behold is an Amish barn raising. It is a model of organization, cooperation, and community spirit. All ages but the youngest contribute and the women see that there is plenty of energy-giving food available to the laborers. It's not just a time of physical labor but also a time honored practice of "each looking not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Philippians 2:4).

A common representation of the Church in the Scriptures is the image of the Body. Today's text draws a powerful analogy from the human body as it compares with the body of Christ: "From Him [Christ] the whole body [Church], joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."

I enjoy the following illustration I read a number of years ago that takes place in a primary class:
A new boy, Davey, showed up just as the class started. Because he had just one arm, the teacher was a bit nervous, concerned that one of the other children would comment on his handicap and embarrass him. But since there was no opportunity to caution them, she proceeded with her lesson.

Photo of childrenShe began to relax as Davey fit in very well. Then, when it was about time for the class to end, she asked the students to stand and join her in making the church. Showing them how to put the fingers of their two hands together, she said, “Let’s make a church. Here’s the church and here’s the steeple. Open the door and see all the people.”

As she saw Davey holding his one hand in the air, the awful truth of her actions struck her. The very thing she had feared the children would do, embarrass Davey, she had just done. She stood speechless, embarrassed by her own unintended insensitivity.

But before she could do anything, Sarah, the little girl next to Davey, put her right hand into his left hand and said, “Davey, let’s make the church together.”
What a tremendous illustration of the Body of Christ at work in love and cooperation. Today's text is a powerful statement using the analogy of the body but for this brief thought let me merely focus on the final phrase, "as each part does its work." 
It is easily observable that when everything works properly each part is doing its work. This is true all through God's creation and is the key to effective team workmanship. Little things do matter and their failure to perform properly and on time can impair or at times completely destroy the functioning of the whole. Think about it, essentially everything that fails does so ultimately because of something small. Even a catastrophic failure generally begins with something small.
The Body of Christ truly works as the church "grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."  Let us do our part today in advancing the cause of Christ in the various ways we serve and realize this is best done in a generous spirit of cooperation. I encourage you today to faithfully serve in whatever manner God has led you; within your local church, your neighborhood, your community, your family and in other areas of service for the Lord.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we pray for a spirit of cooperation and eagerness to contribute to the needs of the whole body, so that Your Church is built not just with sweat, bricks, and mortar but with  love, care, and teamwork.    Therefore we go forth in unity and purpose as we do our part in building each other up in the various natural giftings and learned skills You have given us as we strive for unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God.  Amen.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
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"If We Are The Body"  Video  Casting Crowns

"We Are His Hands"  Video
  Whiteheart  This was a contemporary song when we were young and came to mind when I considered music for today's message. It sounds like it might be a recording from a scratchy record!  Someone did a great job of placing slides up to the music.

"We Are The Reason"  Video  
David Meece  An outstanding version with scenes from "The Passion Of The Christ"  Brooksyne and I first heard this song in the late seventies at "Fishnet", a Jesus Festival in Virginia. It carries a powerful touch.

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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