The Body Needs Its Members

One of the most memorable word pictures in the Bible is its description of the church as the body of Christ (see Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Each local church is compared to a human body and each individual Christian is compared to a member of the body (eyes, ears, mouth, hands, feet, etc.). The analogy is brilliant: just as the human body needs all of its diverse members in order to function properly, so the local church needs all of its diverse members in order to function properly. If the members of a local church don't involve themselves in the life of the body, the body will not function properly.

Why is this important? Because the local church is central to Christ's kingdom building program. Christ has assured us, "I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). The pattern we see in the book of Acts is: making disciples by preaching the gospel; organizing disciples into local churches; appointing elders and deacons in each local church; local churches sending out missionaries and church planters. The common denominator in every facet of this kingdom building program is the local church. Therefore, the health and success of Christ's kingdom on earth is directly related to the health and success of local Christian churches.

Are you committed to the body of Christ? What are you doing to help your local church accomplish her Christ-ordained mission? Are you using your Christ-given gifts for the building up of the church? May the words of hymn writer Timothy Dwight reflect the attitude of our hearts: "I love thy kingdom, Lord, the house of thine abode, the church our blest Redeemer saved with his own precious blood. I love thy church, O God: her walls before thee stand, dear as the apple of thine eye, and graven on thy hand. For her my tears shall fall, for her my prayers ascend; to her my cares and toils be giv'n, till toils and cares shall end."