Doing Your Share in Edifying the Body
Rod BostonTHE BIBLE TEACHES US THAT when you become a Christian you become a part of the body of Christ and every part of the body has a share in supplying and maintaining the health of that body. For the Christian, the practical and obedient sense of this is fulfilled in his membership and participation in a local church.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:16, "from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." The analogy that Paul uses is really quite common and should be easily understood by everyone. Whether it be the human body, a sports team or some civic organization, it is only natural to think of something as having a "share" if it is known as a "part" of the body, church or team.
Let's observe that in the human body when a part ceases to function in "doing its share" it has died and the whole body will suffer in proportion to what that part was contributing. If a part of the body becomes dysfunctional, it is infectious to the rest of the body. There is no place in the healthy body for a part doing nothing.
Nothing a Christian can do is more important than doing his own share. The best and most immediate contribution you can make to encourage your brethren and build up the local church is - do your part. That's all!!! Do your part! Is that too much for the Lord to ask of you? After all, you are the one who wanted to be a Christian, a part of the body. Isn't that right? How any members of local churches will be lost because, after "joining up" they refuse to do their part?
Unfortunately, we sometimes get to thinking rather mechanically about what our part is. a brother confesses that he can't preach and , at least right now, he is not inclined to teach a class, and he doesn't want to wait on the Lord's table or lead in public prayer - what part is left? What else is there to do? Actually, most of the important work is still left to be done. For there is much more to doing your share than standing before an audience in public worship.
So what is your part? Certainly we would have to say it includes being dependable and faithful at all scheduled public periods of study and worship. You're not being asked to teach a class or take a leading role in public worship; it is simply expected that as a member of a local church family you will be there when the church assembles.
Brethren who are continuously negligent in this will not only fail in their responsibility but, worse yet., they never seem to realize how much energy and enthusiasm they drain from their brethren. These fellow saints are concerned about them and are distracted in their own walk to serve the Lord by seeing the constant stumbling of their brother. So, like a malfunctioning organ that cripples the body, when you fail to do your part it cripples the local church in some way at the same time. Others must pick up the slack you leave, overcome your poor example, and divert energy they could use in other good work to try to encourage you to be faithful. As a gospel preacher, let me say that my greatest comfort and encouragement comes from brethren who are simply doing their part - I don't have to worry over them and they strengthen me to do my share, bless them all!
Secondly, our part involves a continuous sincere effort to mold our character to the image of Christ (Philippians 2:3-8). Consider a few ways you can use your unique and individual talents to edify the body. Can you be hospitable and invite people into your home to visit or study the Bible? Are there visitors to the assembly whom you can make feel welcome by introducing them to others, sitting by them, or giving them your telephone number or taking theirs for a follow-up call early in the week? The sick and shut-ins are announced; can you give them a call, send a card, go by for a visit? Someone else in the body has irresponsibly hurt you; can you forgive them and by example teach them and others how the Lord would handle such pain? The opportunities to contribute in meaningful and important ways are endless. And brethren, think about it! No one else can do your share. For the body to be effectively working at growth and edifying itself in love, it cannot afford for any member to be negligent in doing its part. What a wonderful place any local church would be if every member was doing his/her share (even 75% of the members!)
Think of the natural growth and the natural process of solving problems that a local church would regularly experience when every part is doing its share. I think a lot of the schemes and plans and programs we implement end up being nothing more that unnatural attempts to jumpstart an otherwise anemic church, a body where most of the members have forgotten they have a share in the work. Finally, it is quite important for us to remember that if we will not do our share then the Lord can only conclude that we do not want to be a part of His body (John 15:1-2). Brother, sister, let's all do our share!