For The Common Good

1 Corinthians 12: Coming Together For the Common GoodIMG_3419[1]

“But to each one is given

the manifestation of the Spirit

for the common good.”

Corinthians 12:7, NASB*

“No, it’s not going to rain. What are you guys talking about?” As the words came out of my mouth a rain drop, or something worse, fell on my shoulder. “The Lord knows what we need. I don’t understand why you don’t get on the roof,” I teased. A few more raindrops fell. A sly smile covered one young man’s face. It wasn’t long the work outside stopped and the rain poured.

In the U. S. we celebrated Labor Day. Our youth camp team had planned a Labor of Love weekend to work on several projects at the camp. Fellowship, another word for visiting with one another, worship, and work filled our time Friday evening through Monday afternoon. We, young, middle age, and not-so-middle-aged, came together for the common good—getting our campgrounds in good shape and doing some repairs. We worked as a picture of 1 Corinthians 12:18-21.

“But now God has placed the members,

each one of them in His body, just as He desired.

And if they were all one member,

where would the body be?

But now there are many members,

but one body.

And the eye cannot say to the hand,

“I have no need of you:

Or again the head to the feet,

“I have no need of you.”

The Lord blessed us with the rain and directed our tasks, giving us the right people for the right You wouldn’t have wanted to see the storage rooms if I was the one building them. One team worked on the girl’s shower house giving it a makeover inside. My team worked on clearing the old flower bed out before the rain fell too hard. Then we cleaned and reorganized the pantry and the tool closet. Others trimmed tree branches, before, during, and after the rain. Others weed-eated. We had two half days with no rain. During those times, indoor projects were finished and outdoor projects of painting, power washing buildings, and the wonderful job of cleaning out the trees around our sewage lagoon got well under way. One woman tackled the chapel cleaning, including learning how to replace the guts of one of the toilets. Others cooked, washed dishes, and cleaned up at the end.

rock gardenI was especially thankful for those who turned my idea for the old flower bed into a reality. Their gifts will bring it to completion. One young man is going to make the sign to hang on the wooden frame. Next spring we will plant a couple yucca plants around the base and add a few large, flat, creek-rocks.

We ended the day worn out but blessed beyond measure. There is more to the story than I can tell here, but Paul expresses all the Lord did for us in Ephesians 3:20-21.

“Now to Him who is able to do

exceeding abundantly beyond

all that we ask or think,

according to the power that works within us,

to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus

to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

No, the new roof didn’t get put on this weekend. Only the Lord knows why. But I wonder if it’s not so others can come and participate in the blessing.

For Thought: When have you been blessed by the body of Christ coming together as one, and you knew it was Him that put it all together?

Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 12: 27-31. If you had been with us, which task would have fit your gifting? What do you see as your place in the body of Christ?

Our Prayer: Father, how you have blessed us with one another to supply every need we have in the ministries you have called us to. May all we do be for the building up of your kingdom by encouraging one another in love and good works. As you have blessed us, may we use the gifts you give us to bless you by blessing others.

 *all scripture references are from NASB unless otherwise stated

Adults Coming Together

Chapter 3: Coming Together as Adults with one mind to work the works of God;

Or standing apart like children wanting their own way;

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men,

but as to men of flesh,

as to babes in Christ.”

1Corinthians 3:1

“You’re a baby.” My brother’s insult lit a fire in my tongue. More taunts and name calling threw kindling on my fire. The crackling between us grew louder. Then came the water to quench the flames.

“Would you two stop the arguing!” My mom’s frustration drowned the flames but left the coals smoldering as she lectured. “You know, my mom would make my brother and me sit across from each other until we would each say, ‘Sorry’ and give each other a hug.”

My brother’s mouth twisted to one side as he tried to hide a smile. My eyes nearly bugged out of their sockets. No way would I give him a hug.

“We will quit arguing, Mom. I promise.”

Mom would shake her head, make us go outside, and promise not to hurt each other – until the next time the fire would blaze. Which would be the next time we were in close proximity and Dad wasn’t at home.

Paul had much the same problem with the Corinthian believers who were behaving like babies. They refused to act like the spiritual adults in Christ they were supposed to be. Instead jealousy and strife fueled a fire among the church dividing the body of Christ into factions. In chapter one he addressed their divisions caused by the arguing going on. It had to stop or the church would lose its influence on those living in the world, and stunt the growth of the church.

There really is nothing new under the sun. The body of Christ is suffering, more than I have known in my lifetime, at the hands of those who claim the name of Christ and walk like the world toward their own brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s time we put away the arguing and fussing and remember what brings us together.

Paul told the Romans in 12:5-

“so, we, who are many, are one body in Christ,

and individually members one of another.”

And John, the beloved disciple, went so far as to write by God’s inspiration,

“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother,

he is a liar;

for one who does not love his brother whom he has seen,

cannot love God whom he has not seen.

And this commandment we have from Him,

that the one who loves God

should love his brother also.”

1John 4:20,21.

Brother in these verses doesn’t mean just the guys. It is biblical language that includes all who are in the body of Christ. All who belong to Christ are members one of another. As Paul wrote in 1Corinthians 12, not one of us can say, “I don’t like how my ear hears, so I’m not going to share what I as the eye see.” (my paraphrase) Bottom line – we need each other.

I don’t believe any of us would take and physically harm another who sits with us in church. Nor would we intentionally dismember ourselves. But that is exactly what we are doing to the body of Christ when we allow arguing, jealousy, and divisions among us. We are tearing apart Christ’s body. This should not be. Let’s remember who we are. We are Christ’s body. He is our head. We are his building, his temple, which is holy. Do you want to see the glory of the Lord reign in his body? He must reign in each member. It’s time to grow up in the Lord.

By the way, my brother and I are closer today than I could have ever believed possible as a child. I even like giving him hugs. I guess we’ve grown up.

For Thought: How can you bring unity to the body of Christ?

Today’s Reading: Ephesians 4:11-16; Take a moment to list what these verses say about Christ and his relationship to his body. What is Christ’s goal for his body? How are you reaching for the goal?

A Prayer for Us: Father, you have given us all we need to become all you have designed us to be – strong, healthy, loving members of Christ’s body. Forgive our pettiness and help us walk in love one to another.