“I spent the day organizing body parts—legs, arms, heads…” When the young woman said this to me, it took a few seconds to understand the joke. She works in an arts and crafts store in which they sell parts to make dolls. Organizing body parts (doll parts!) was just part of the job.
Organizing body parts is also a task of each Christian congregation. God gives each Christian certain talents which they can use to assist their church in its mission. For instance, I love to sing and I love music. But, if you ever sit next to me in a church service, you will know why I’ve never been asked to sing a solo or join the choir. I’m a terrible singer. And it makes me appreciate the talent of others in my congregation who can add such beauty to the service through music.
Service through music, whether singing or accompanying, is an easy thing to recognize. But, there are so many other people serving, in so many different ways. Someone comes early to unlock the church, turn on the lights and make sure the heating or air conditioning is on. Someone posts the hymns so we all know what to sing. Someone prints the bulletins. Someone sets up for communion and cleans up afterwards. Someone cleans the church. Someone mows the lawn and keeps the grounds neat. Someone makes the coffee to enjoy after the service. There are so many different things to do in a congregation, the list can become quite long.
The most important function in every congregation is the preaching and teaching of God’s Word and the administration of the sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. After all, that’s why we gather together in a congregation. In support of that mission, the members of a congregation perform countless important tasks which make a local congregation run smoothly.
God has blessed each of us with talents. And it is especially those talents that He would like us to use. And, at the same time we use our own talents, we can thank God for the many abilities He gives to others. The Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, offers advice to church members in 1 Corinthians: For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. (1 Corinthians 12:14-20)
God has blessed us with the gift of His only-begotten Son, Jesus, who lived a sinless life in place of our sinful ones and died to pay for all the sins we commit. Out of thanks for His endless grace and mercy, we serve Him joyfully, knowing that by grace we have been given forgiveness, life and salvation. God has richly blessed His Church with pastors who preach and teach His Word. And He has richly blessed the Church with many talented members who serve in a wide variety of ways. Take a moment this week to think of the many members who serve in your congregation, thank God for them, and thank them for their service!-Rev. Paul Fries